Mopani targets global investors after Glencore deal
Mopani Copper Mines is targeting international investors following ZCCM Investment Holding (ZCCM-IH)’s takeover of Glencore’s majority stake in a $1.5 billion debt deal.
The Lusaka Times reports ZCCM-IH – which is acquiring 90 percent of Mopani from Glencore subsidiary Carlisa Investment Corp – needs approximately $300 million to complete expansion projects started by Glencore.
Completion of the sale, which is conditional on certain regulatory approvals in Zambia and on approval of ZCCM-IH shareholders and board of directors, is expected to occur within three months.
After completion, Glencore will retain offtake rights in respect of Mopani's copper production “until the Transaction Debt has been repaid in full,” according to a statement.
Glencore tried to suspend operations at Mopani due to low copper prices and COVID-19 disruptions, prompting threats from the Zambian government that it could revoke the company’s mining licenses.
Zambia, which will hold Presidential elections in August, has built up large debts following a borrowing spree in recent years. It defaulted on a US$42.5 million payment on a Eurobond last November.
Zambia paid 8.5 billion kwacha ($400 million) in VAT refunds to mining companies last year but still owes them $1.6 billion, according to Zambia’s Chamber of Mines President Goodwell Mateyo.
Separately, Vedanta Resources has agreed to settle all claims brought against it by Zambian villagers following pollution by a copper mine run by Konkola Copper Mines Plc (KCM), Vedanta and law firm Leigh Day said on Tuesday, according to Reuters.
The claim, centring on pollution from the Nchanga Copper Mine, was brought by more than 2,500 Zambian villagers against KCM – Zambia’s biggest private employer – and its UK-based parent company Vedanta Resources, the report added.
Vale invests $150mn to extend life of Manitoba operations
Vale has announced a $150mn CAD investment to extend current mining activities in Thompson, Manitoba by 10 years while aggressive exploration drilling of known orebodies holds the promise of mining well past 2040.
Global energy transition is boosting the market for nickel
The Thompson Mine Expansion is a two-phase project. The announcement represents Phase 1 and includes critical infrastructure such as new ventilation raises and fans, increased backfill capacity and additional power distribution. The changes are forecast to improve current production by 30%.
“This is the largest single investment we have made in our Thompson operations in the past two decades,” said Mark Travers, Executive Vice-President for Base Metals with Vale. “It is significant news for our employees, for the Thompson community and for the Province of Manitoba.
“The global movement to electric vehicles, renewable energies and carbon reduction has shone a welcome spotlight on nickel – positioning the metal we mine as a key contributor to a greener future and boosting world demand. We are proud that Thompson can be part of that future and part of the low carbon solution.”
Vale continues drilling program at Manitoba
Coupled with today’s announcement, Vale is continuing an extensive drilling program to further define known orebodies and search for new mineralization.
“This $150mn investment is just one part of our ambitious Thompson turnaround story. It is an indicator of our confidence in a long future for the Thompson operations,” added Dino Otranto, Chief Operating Officer for Vale’s North Atlantic Base Metals operations.
“Active collaboration between our design team, technical services, USW Local 6166, and our entire Thompson workforce has delivered a safe, efficient and fit-for-purpose plan that will enable us to extract the Thompson nickel resources for many years to come.”
The Thompson orebody was first discovered in 1956 by Vale (then known as Inco) following the adoption of new exploration technology and the largest exploration program to-date in the company’s history. Mining of the Thompson orebody began in 1961.
“We see the lighting of a path forward to a sustainable and prosperous future for Vale Base Metals in Manitoba,” said Gary Annett, General Manager of Vale’s Manitoba Operations.