Freeport won’t sell stake in Serbian copper project to Lundin

Drilling at Timok. (Image courtesy of Reservoir Minerals )

Freeport-McMoRan (NYSE:FCX) won’t sell its stake in the copper and gold Timok project in Serbia to Canadian Lundin Mining (TSX:LUN), which had offered as much as $263 million.

The largest listed copper miner is the current project operator and holds a 55% interest on it, while Lundin holds the remaining 45%.

The transaction adds to Lundin’s $1.8 billion acquisition in 2014 of a controlling stake in Freeport’s Candelaria copper mining complex in Chile.

Under the deal, Lundin would have acquired 100% of Freeport’s interest in the upper zone of the Cukaru Peki deposit and 28% of Freeport’s interest in the lower zone of the deposit, which is situated on one of the four mineral licenses comprising the Timok project.

The company planned to fund 100% of the upper zone development costs, as well as $20m of agreed lower zone work until a feasibility study is delivered, Lundin said in a statement.

Lundin and Freeport would have fund 28% and 72% of all other lower zone development costs, respectively.

The transaction would have added to Lundin’s $1.8 billion acquisition in 2014 of a controlling stake in Freeport’s Candelaria copper mining complex in Chile and its $325 million purchase of Rio Tinto’s Eagle nickel and copper project in northern Michigan in 2013.

Shares in Lundin jumped on the news and were trading almost 7% higher at 10:05 am ET to Cdn$4.25.