Home » Neal Froneman says Sibanye will include Chinese partner in Mopani Copper Mines bid

Neal Froneman says Sibanye will include Chinese partner in Mopani Copper Mines bid

by Mfonobong Nsehe
Neal Froneman

South African mining magnate Neal Froneman has unveiled Sibanye-Stillwater’s intention to bring in a Chinese investor to form a partnership if it wins its bid to buy Zambia’s Mopani Copper Mines.

Froneman’s announcement follows his earlier revelation at the London Indaba conference on African resource investment that Sibanye-Stillwater was merely two months away from finalizing its bid to secure ownership of the lucrative copper mines.

Earlier this year, Sibanye-Stillwater, under the leadership of Froneman, emerged as one of the four entities shortlisted in the race to acquire Zambia’s Mopani Copper Mines, signifying the company’s strategic expansion into copper and green metals.

Rothschild & Co., the facilitator of the selection process, meticulously narrowed down a plethora of interested parties to the select quartet, which includes China’s Zijin Mining, Norinco Group, and a venture led by former Glencore executives.

Elaborating on the intention to forge a partnership with a Chinese entity, Froneman clarified, refraining from disclosing specific terms or the identity of the Chinese investor: “We are bringing in a partner we’ve already identified and are working with, but we didn’t want to complicate the transaction by having two buyers negotiate with the government.”

The prospective Chinese partner, active in the copper mining sector, aims to join hands with Sibanye as an investment collaborator. Froneman emphasized that the partnership would materialize once negotiations concluded satisfactorily, indicating a post-acquisition integration of the two entities.

Froneman, who played a key role in driving Sibanye-Stillwater’s transformation into one of the world’s leading primary producers of platinum, palladium, and gold, presently holds a 0.3-percent stake, or 8,382,849 ordinary shares, in the precious metal mining group.

With a rich history spanning more than 90 years, Mopani Copper Mines has the capacity to produce 225,000 tonnes of copper annually, offering substantial growth prospects. However, fully realizing this potential requires a minimum investment of $300 million to support a challenging underground expansion.

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