Australian copper junior Aeris Resources (ASX: AIS) revealed on Wednesday that it had offered miner and commodities trader Glencore (LON: GLEN) $575 million for its CSA copper operation.
Aeris said negotiations to buy the mine were at a late stage, adding that the offer consisted of $525 million in cash, $50 million in the company’s shares and a royalty payable to Glencore.
The underground CSA mine, located in the state of New South Wales, produced 48,000 tonnes of copper concentrate last year. It has a productive life of five years and ore reserves to last around ten, according to Glencore’s reserves and resources report.
Aeris’ outsized bid, which could significantly lift its annual production, caught analysts by surprise. They believe that Aurelia Metals (ASX: AMI), which owns a neighbouring mine and was once a Glencore shareholder, seemed like a more logical buyer.
Queensland-based Aeris said the acquisition could be funded through a combination of debt, an equity capital raising and a so-called streaming agreement through, which it would sell silver and copper produced at the mine to the Swiss miner and trader.
Aeris noted its offer wasn’t guaranteed to proceed and if it does, would likely be subject to a number of conditions.
After having a gloomy 2018, in which Glencore’s shares lost about 25% of their value following several probes, the company has been trying to raise $1 billion from asset sales and to boost its $2 billion share buyback program. If a deal with Aeris goes ahead, it will be halfway towards that target.