Ivanhoe Mines on Tuesday announced a deal with China Nonferrous Metal Mining (CNMC) under which the companies would jointly look for African mining projects to explore, develop or acquire.
Ivanhoe’s co-chairmen Robert Friedland and Yufeng Sun said the strategic partnership would also see the companies, both active in Democratic Republic of Congo, exploring production, smelting, and logistics opportunities.
Friedland hinted at possible mergers arising from the agreement with CNMC, saying the partnership would begin by “examining the synergies between the operations currently owned by our two companies”.
CNMC Chairman Wang Tongzhou said: “I strongly believe that cooperation is the best way to achieving the goals of both companies.”
Ivanhoe has previously said it is in talks with companies over its Kipushi and Western Forelands projects in the Congo, and its Platreef project in South Africa.
CNMC in January launched Congo’s first large-scale copper smelter, the Lualaba Copper Smelter, 45km from Ivanhoe’s Kamoa-Kakula copper joint venture with Zijin Mining in the country’s southern copperbelt.
CNMC is also the majority owner of Deziwa copper and cobalt mine and processing plant, a joint venture with Congo’s state mining company Gécamines which started producing in January.
(By Helen Reid and Tom Daly; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)