UAE firm attempts to gatecrash Lubambe Copper sale

A UNIT of International Holding Company, Abu Dhabi’s most valuable company, is interested in acquiring Zambia’s Lubambe Copper Mine, an asset that China’s JCHX Mining has already agreed to buy, according to a report Reuters.

International Resources Holding recently told EMR Capital that it is interested in bidding for the private equity manager’s 80% stake in the Lubambe copper project, which is up for sale. Reuters said the development that may complicate an existing sale process as China’s JCHX, a mine servicing and contracting firm, had already entered into a deal to buy EMR’s 80% stake in Lubambe in January.

The sale process requires approval from the Zambian government, which is pending and unclear at the moment, Reuters said citing one of its sources. Another source said JCHX was still confident that the deal would be closed.

The Zambian government owns a 20% stake in Lubambe through state-firm ZCCM-IH

The IHC unit’s interest is spurred by an aggressive push by cash-rich oil majors United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia to secure critical metal supply in Africa, as they bid to diversify their economies and engage with energy transition.

Middle East investors are pitted against Chinese companies in Africa, including state backed firms, also aggressively pursuing deals in Africa to strengthen China’s grip on minerals required to power a rapidly expanding domestic electric vehicle manufacturing sector.