OZ loses Romanian copper mine to Canadian company

Canadian company Roman Copper Corp won Monday's bid for Romania's largest copper mine, beating out three competitors including Australian miner OZ Minerals.

Bidding for the Cupru Min Abrud mine started at 57 million euros and closed at 200 million euros, according to Romanian Business Insider.

The Romanian Economy Ministry received four bids for the mine, which has estimated reserves of 900,000 tonnes of copper, or around 60% of Romania's copper reserves. Bidders included OZ Minerals Ltd., Dutch Dundee Holding, Roman Copper Corp., and Bulgarian company Ellatzite Med Ad.

Unlisted Roman Copper is owned by Toronto-based investment banker Bayfront Capital Partners.

Sydney Morning Herald reports that OZ Minerals, which is sitting on an acquisition warchest of nearly a billion dollars, could be looking at bigger fish to fry than Cupru Min Abrud, which produces just 10% as much copper as its flagship Prominent Hill mine and with lower grades than its recently purchased Carrapateena prospect. Quoting EL & C Baillieu analyst Adrian Prendergast:

'We believe the market is expecting OZ to make a large and expensive acquisition, whereas we believe a better approach that the company may be following is to pursue multiple acquisitions of varying sizes to offset the eventual depletion of Prominent Hill," he said.