Zijin Mining Group Co., a leading Chinese copper and gold miner, has slowed acquisitions due to high project valuations and geopolitical tensions.
The number and scale of deals completed by the company is fewer than previous years, although it’s still “actively looking for merger and acquisition opportunities generally,” President Zou Laicang told investors at a briefing on Wednesday following the company’s first-half results.
Zijin has acquired a series of copper and gold mines from Africa to Europe and Canada in recent years to meet its ambitious output goals. It’s also expanded into lithium in a bid to become a major player in the global market for the battery metals used in electric vehicles.
The slowdown is due to fierce competition as well as a “fine tuning” of its M&A strategy, said Zou. Projects are attracting very high premiums and Zijin is becoming more cautious, particularly as metals prices are relatively high, he said.
Considering the geopolitical and economic environment, Zijin will lift investments within China and neighboring countries, he said. It’ll also target big projects that could have a significant influence on the company’s performance, with a focus on gold, copper and zinc, as well as new energy minerals.
Lithium prices have collapsed in recent months, although the slump is “within expectations”, executive vice president Lin Hongfu told the briefing.
Lithium carbonate in China has more than halved from its November peak to just over 200,000 yuan a ton after a surge in supply. The company’s projects are still profitable even if lithium carbonate prices were to slump to 100,000 yuan, said Lin.