Peru confirms China's largest copper producer wants a stake in Las Bambas
Peru’s Minister of Energy and Mines, Jorge Merino, confirmed Tuesday that Jiangxi Copper, China's largest copper producer, has submitted a bid for Glencore Xstrata's (LON:GLEN) Las Bambas project.
While Merino minister did not specify whether the offer came from Jiangxi Copper Group or its publicly traded unit Jiangxi Copper Co. Ltd, La Republica (in Spanish) quoted him Tuesday as saying the sale of the $5.2 billion mine will likely happen before the 2014 deadline.
Jiangxi Copper faces fierce competition from fellow Chinese miners MMG and Minmetals, the state-owned metals and mining company. US miner Newmont (NYSE:NEM), the world's second-largest gold producer, is also rumoured to be eyeing the Peruvian mine, thought it has not confirmed whether it will bid.
As the world's biggest copper importer, China is looking to secure a domestic-owned source for the metal. Currently, the country only satisfies one-third of its demand.
Las Bambas' three pits are expected to produce more than 400,000 tonnes of copper per year once operations begin at the end of 2014. It will also produce significant quantities of gold, silver and molybdenum as by-product.
Global mining giant Glencore Xstrata put Las Bambas property up for sale in May as part of a condition imposed by Beijing for Glencore’s $76-billion merger with Xstrata PLC .