China’s MMG seals $1.9 billion deal to buy Khoemacau copper mine in Botswana

(Reuters) -Chinese miner MMG Ltd’s share price jumped on Tuesday to a near eight-week peak after it agreed to buy Canada-based Cuprous Capital, the parent company of the Khoemacau copper mine in Botswana, with an enterprise value of $1.88 billion.

MMG has been hunting for copper assets for more than a year, amid a surge in demand for the metal needed in green energy transition.

Shares of MMG rose as much as 7.5% to HK$2.45 in morning trading, the highest since Sept. 29 and marking their biggest one-day percent gain since April 14.

“The acquisition of Khoemacau mine is an important step in achieving our vision of creating a leading international mining company for a low carbon future and will create meaningful long-term value for our shareholders,” MMG Chairman Jiqing Xu said in a statement.

Smelters in China, the world’s top consumer of refined copper, face an increasing challenge in securing copper concentrate, as they boosted capacity in recent years amid slower mining output growth.

Reuters in September reported that at least three South African miners were in a race to buy the mine that is home to one of Africa’s largest copper deposits, as growing demand for the metal ensures strong competition for the sought-after asset.

Khoemacau is located in the Kalahari Copper Belt, a vast swathe of land that stretches from north-east Botswana to parts of western Namibia.

It produces about 60,000 tons of copper and about 2 million ounces of silver per year. Output could be ramped up to about 130,000 tons of copper and 5 million ounces of silver per year with additional investments.

In its filing on Tuesday, MMG said it would satisfy the consideration or any funding requirements for Cuprous Capital by securing a combination of shareholder loan and third-party financing.

The deal is pending approval from regulatory bodies in China and Botswana, the filing showed. MMG said it expects the deal to complete in the first half of 2024.

Macquarie Capital and Citigroup acted as joint financial advisors to MMG on the deal.

(Reporting by Poonam Behura in Bengaluru, Roxanne Liu in Beijing and Melanie Burton in Melbourne; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Stephen Coates)