July 25, 2024

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Sibanye-Stillwater has expressed an interest in Zambia’s Mopani Copper Mines, the mine and smelter complex looking for new investors after Glencore sold the asset to the state in January last year, CEO Neal Froneman said on Wednesday.

Froneman said Sibanye had registered an interest around a year ago, and that “we remain interested”.

Zambia’s state mining firm ZCCM-IH hired Rothschild in June to help find a new investor to upgrade and expand it.

“We like Zambia, we like what the new president is doing there,” Froneman said.

Sibanye, which mainly produces platinum group metals and gold, has expanded into battery metals including lithium and nickel through a string of acquisitions.

Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema, elected in August 2021, has overseen reforms in the mining tax regime in a bid to attract new investment and boost production in Africa’s second-biggest copper producer.

Mopani, which is more than 90 years old, has the potential to produce 225 000 t/y of copper, nearly three times its expected 2022 production, but it needs investment of at least $300-million to fund a complicated underground expansion. 

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