May 17, 2020

Freeport-McMoRan Sells Copper Mine to Lundin Mining for $2 Billion

Lundin Mining
Candelaria copper mine
2 min
The deal, which is worth $2 billion, is a step in the right direction for Freeport as the US based company continues to reduce its debt.
Freeport-McMoRan (NYSE:FCX) has finally sold its Candelaria mining complex in Chile, selling an 80 percent stake to Lundin Mining (TSX:LUN) for $1.8 bil...

Freeport-McMoRan (NYSE:FCX) has finally sold its Candelaria mining complex in Chile, selling an 80 percent stake to Lundin Mining (TSX:LUN) for $1.8 billion. The mega deal, which was officially announced on Monday, will also include a five percent royalty of copper revenues over the next five years if the average copper price exceeds $4 a pound.

The deal is another step in the right direction for the US based Freeport as it continues to reduce debt, following the $3.1 billion sale of its Eagle Ford shale assets in June. Sale of the mine had previously been halted as major changes to the South American country's tax regime took effect.

To finance the transaction, Lundin will issue $1 billion of senior secured debt, raise $600 million through an equity offering, and receive $648 million from Franco-Nevada Corp. in a streaming arrangement.

"The acquisition of Candelaria is a unique opportunity to acquire a large scale, high quality copper operation with strong cash flows in an excellent mining jurisdiction,” said Paul Conibear, President and CEO of Lundin Mining.

Candelaria is expected to produce 156,000 tons of copper this year, along with 97,000 ounces of gold and 1.9 million ounces of silver.

 “Candelaria is a well run, renowned asset with superb infrastructure and an experienced operating team. This transaction further enhances our Company by providing increased operational and geographic diversification, using a balanced financing structure which allows us to maintain a strong balance sheet going forward," said Conibear.

The remaining 20 percent of the mine is owned by Japanese industrial behemoth Sumitomo Corp.

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Jul 20, 2021

British Lithium Pressured Due To Calls for Electric Cars

3 min
The ever-increasing need for electric vehicles is mounting pressure on British Lithium as the 2035 deadline inches closer

The British demand for lithium is set to reach 75,000 tonnes by 2035 as the government works towards their ban on the sale of high-polluting diesel and petrol vehicles within the UK. This comes as automakers worldwide continue to insist on the benefits electric vehicles will have on slowing the rate of climate change. 

It is estimated that the UK will require 50,000-60,000 MT of lithium carbonate a year by 2035 for battery production to satisfy government needs. This is assuming production remains at 1.2 million vehicles per year, and the amount of lithium required does not increase.

British Lithium, which hopes to begin constructing a quarry to produce 20,000 MT of lithium carbonate a year in a $400 million investment, are not without competitors, both within the UK and abroad. 

Competition For Lithium Rises In Europe 

After only five years after its initial launch, Cornish Lithium is setting its sights on becoming a UK powerhouse in mining lithium, aiming to begin commercial production in under four years. Jeremy Wrathall, a former investment banker and current managing director of Cornish Lithium, had the future in mind when founding the company. 

“In 2016, I started to think about the electric vehicle revolution and what that would mean for metal demand, and I started to think about lithium,” he said in an interview with AFP. “A friend of mine mentioned lithium being identified in Cornwall, and I just wondered if that was a sort of unrecognised thing in the UK.”

Lithium was first discovered in Cornwall around 1864 and has not been mined again since 1914 when it was produced as an ingredient in fireworks. Now, however, Cornish Lithium is reportedly in the testing stage to see if the metal can be produced commercially to meet the growing demand required for the electric car sector. 

Despite Cornwall’s close historic ties to mining lithium, Wrathall insists that the project is purely commercial. 

Cornish Mining Revival For Lithium Production

“It’s not a mission that drives me to the point of being emotional or romantic,” he says. “It’s vitally important that we do get this technology otherwise Europe has got no lithium supply.”

The European Commission has also stated their goal to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2035 to aid the environment. That being said, the majority of lithium extraction currently relies on power provided by environmentally damaging fossil fuels─a slight contradiction. 

Alex Keynes, from the Brussels-based lobby group Transport & Environment, is adamant that mining for lithium should be done sustainably. 

“Our view is that medium-to-long term, the majority of materials including lithium should come from efficient and clean recycling.

“Europe from a strategic point of view should be looking at securing its own supply of lithium.”

Despite growing competition from abroad, British Lithium Chairman, Roderick Smith, continues to place importance on the mining of lithium within the UK. 

“Imagine what the UK economy would look like if we lost our automotive industry,” Smith says. “The stakes are high for the UK.”

Smith expects the UK to compete with other European countries to secure a lithium battery plant in the near future.

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