Glencore closer to selling Lomas Bayas copper mine in Chile

Mining and commodities giant Glencore (LON:GLEN) is getting closer to selling its Lomas Bayas copper mine in Chile’s Atacama Desert, after receiving at least two significant offers for the asset, local media reports.

According Diario Financiero (in Spanish), the bidders include former Barrick Gold CEO Aaron Regent's company — Magris Resources —, and Chilean energy firm Copec.

Bidders include former Barrick Gold CEO Aaron Regent's company and Chilean energy firm Copec.

In October, the Swiss firm confirmed it had received a number of unsolicited expressions of interest for the Lomas Bayas open-pit operation and also its Cobar mine in Australia’s New South Wales.

Glencore said at the time the potential buyers may purchase "either one or both of the mines and may or may not result in a sale.”

These mines are over and above the asset sales, share offerings and other money raising efforts including by-product forward sales detailed by Chief Executive Officer Ivan Glasenberg last year, as part of its plans to reduce its crippling debt load by $13 billion over the near term.

The operations are definitively not among the largest in Glencore’s portfolio. Cobar generates about 50,000 tonnes of copper concentrate a year, while Lomas Bayas — acquired by Glencore as part of its 2013 takeover of Xstrata —produces 75,000 tonnes.

According to analysts including Citigroup Inc. and UBS Group AG, the mines may worth between $500 million to $1 billion.

Glencore has said it expects to finalize the sales in the first half of the year.