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Abu Dhabi’s IRH completes Zambian copper mine deal

Zambia copper mine Reuters/Salim Henry
Zambia is Africa’s second largest producer of copper, after the Democratic Republic of Congo next door
  • $620m injection of new capital
  • IRH interested in Lubambe Copper Mine
  • On a ‘strategic journey’ in industry

Abu Dhabi’s International Resources Holdings (IRH) has completed its acquisition of Mopani Copper Mines in Zambia and is reported to be interested in acquiring more of the country’s minerals industry.

IRH is part of International Holding Company, Abu Dhabi’s most valuable company.

Previous reports said IRH would invest $1.1 billion through the deal in return for a 51 percent stake in Mopani Copper Mines.

IRH will provide $620 million in new equity capital in exchange for that stake. Nearly $400 million will be handed over as a shareholder loan to part-settle a $1.5 billion debt owed to Glencore, Mopani Copper Mines’ previous owner.

International Holding Company’s CEO Syed Basar Shueb said the venture was “a key part of our strategic vision to support and grow high-value assets, as well as to deploy our expertise in fostering resource management that is both responsible and sustainable”.

Mopani Copper Mines has a primary listing on the Lusaka Securities Exchange and secondary listings on the London Stock Exchange and the Euronext Access Exchange in Paris.

The company posted a loss of $298 million for 2022 in its most recent financial statements, as copper production fell to 72,500 tonnes over the year, down 17 percent on 2021.

Ali Rashdi, CEO of IRH said the acquisition marked a crucial step in its “strategic journey in the mining industry”.

Reports on Friday from Reuters suggested that IRH was also interested in acquiring Lubambe Copper Mine in Zambia. This is despite a deal already being agreed between the owner of an 80 percent stake in the mine and JHCX Mining of China.

Zambia is Africa’s second largest producer of copper behind the Democratic Republic of Congo and was the world’s ninth biggest producer in 2022.

The mining sector contributes around 12 percent of the country’s GDP, with copper mining, in particular, accounting for around 70 percent of its export earnings.

The Zambian government has revealed a plan to ramp up annual copper output from 83,000 tonnes to more than 3 million tonnes by 2032.

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