THE Zambian government had concluded its talks with Glencore about buying a majority stake in Mopani Copper Mines, said Reuters.
The newswire quoted a report by Zambian state radio which cited the southern African country’s president, Edgar Lungu. It did not give details about the outcome of the negotiations.
Zambia’s state mining investment arm ZCCM-IH has been in talks to buy Glencore’s majority stake in Mopani since August, said Reuters.
Glencore did not immediately reply to a request for comment on the radio report. Zambia’s mines minister was not immediately available to confirm the report, Reuters said.
Glencore, which owns 73.1% of Mopani Copper, was blocked from mothballing the operation last year. It also risked having its mining rights revoked by the state as part of a dispute between it and the Zambian government.
There have been questions about the ability of Zambia to pay for the shares in Mopani Copper having defaulted on a Eurobond interest payment in November.
Barnaby Mulenga, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Mines, told Bloomberg News last year concerns about the government’s ability to fund a deal were unfounded. “The resource attracts money, so the issue of financing is the least of the worries for the Zambian government,” he said.
Glencore previously booked impairments of $1.14bn at Mopani Copper.
Zambia, Africa’s second largest copper producer, relies on copper for about 70% of its export earnings.