May 17, 2020

Glencore, Mick Davis in running to purchase Anglo American's copper mines in Chile

X2 Resources
Mick Davis
Anglo American
2 min
Glencore, Mick Davis in running to purchase Anglo American's copper mines in Chile
As pressure for Anglo American to sell its non-core assets continues to mount, the bidding war for the companys Chilean mines is heating up.According to...

As pressure for Anglo American to sell its non-core assets continues to mount, the bidding war for the company’s Chilean mines is heating up.

According to Reuters, mining and trading company Glencore and X2 Resources were among the companies placing bids last week for two of Anglo American’s copper mines in Chile. Also in the running is Audley Capital, a British investment firm.

"The deadline to submit the bids was a week ago and X2 is still in the running," a first banking source said. "Mick (Davis) seems keen on those assets."

Davis, the former Xstrata CEO, has been struggling to secure a new mining deal for his company X2 Resources, despite raising more than $5.6 billion in capital. Davis was outbid in the first round of Barrick Gold’s Zaldivar copper mine in Chile earlier this week.

• Related content: Pressure Mounting for Mick Davis to Find New Mining Deals

Many analysts believe the two copper mines -- Mantos Blancos and Mantoverde – could fetch upwards of $1 billion. Anglo American is currently in the midst of wide-ranging efforts to cut costs and remove less-profitable parts of its business.

"They are both mines towards the end of their life although with some investment Mantoverde's life can be extended," a second industry source said. "I would think a smaller firm like Audley is more likely to get them. Certainly the John MacKenzie connection is strong."

An industry source said although Glencore was still in the process, it was unlikely to make a high enough bid to win the assets. 

Other companies in the bidding war include private equity firms Warburg Pincus and Magris Resources and mining company Nevsun Resource as well as Chilean state-owned Codelco.

The Mantos Blancos mine, which is located 30 miles from the Chilean port city Antofagasta, includes an open pit mine, crushing plants and installations for processing oxide and sulphide ore. Mantoverde, located in Chile’s Atacama Region, is one of the largest copper reserves in Chile with an estimated reserves of 580 million tons.

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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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