One reason why no-one's buying bargain mines
A meagre 0.6% of private capital raised in 2015 for natural resource investment is destined for mining projects. Just two funds closed on $400 million in private investments for metals and mining last year according to data by industry tracker Preqin.
Investors aren't necessarily staying away from mining assets because of a weak outlook. Of the $63 billion raised for natural resources more than 90% were going into oil and gas opportunities, which arguably have even worse fundamentals.
Mick Davis' X2 Resources is still sitting on its $5.6 billion war chest, despite regular rumours about Canadian copper or Australian coal buys doing the rounds. Mergers and acquisitions among publicly traded companies in mining is just as subdued.
According to Bloomberg data M&A in the sector fell to the lowest since 2003 with only $38 billion of assets changing hands, compared to during the boom years which topped out at $226 billion in 2006. That's despite many high quality assets being put up for sale by distressed companies including by the marquee names in the mining world.
One possible explanation for the low levels of activity comes from Paul Gait, a mining analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein Ltd. in London, who is quoted by Bloomberg:
"It is surprising that we haven’t seen more M&A. But the wild swings that we are getting in the commodity markets are dampening down M&A activity because they are making it hard to get a handle on what fair value actually looks like.”
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