Glencore may take full control of Mutanda copper mine

Miner and commodities trader Glencore (LON:GLEN) is mulling to hike its stake in the Mutanda mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a copper asset it jointly owns with billionaire mining tycoon Dan Gertler.

The Swiss firm, which already owns 69% of the mine, confirmed Thursday it was studying strategic options for the venture, adding it would make a further announcement if appropriate.

The firm may buy all or part of the 31% stake owned by its joint venture partner Fleurette Group.

One of the possible decisions, FT.com reports, would be to buy all or part of the 31% stake owned by Fleurette Group, the mining vehicle of Gertler.

Glencore, which was severely hit by the recent rout in commodity prices, managed last year to strengthen its balance sheet and cut debt. It also resumed work at a few halted mines, including a few coal operations in Australia.

Now, the firm led by Ivan Glasenberg is looking to deals. In December, the company joined forces with Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund to buy almost a fifth of Rosneft, the giant Russian oil company, in a deal worth $11 billion.

In the nine months to September, the $1.8 billion Mutanda operation produced 162,300 tonnes of copper and more than 18,000 tonnes of cobalt. It’s considered one of Glencore’s main growth assets and a key operation in the DRC, largely thanks to its high ore grades and low expansion costs.