Lundin Mining Corp. will buy Freeport-McMoRan’s Candelaria copper mine in Chile for $1.8 billion. It is the largest acquisition by the Canadian company and it will be the company’s first mine in South America.
Lundin Mining will double it production of copper with the purchase and comes as fears of weaker demand from China persist, The Globe and Mail reported.
Economic growth in China, the world’s largest consumer of copper and other commodities, is slowing and big new copper mines are expected to start producing next year, which will add to an already well-supplied market and likely weigh on prices for some time.
For Lundin, however, the downturn represents a buying opportunity.
The base-metals miner will fund the deal through debt and an equity financing.
Toronto-based mining royalty company Franco-Nevada Corp. will help finance the deal by paying Lundin $648-million for a stream of Candelaria’s future gold and silver production.
The Candelaria complex includes an open pit copper mine, infrastructure and the nearby Ojos del Salado underground copper mines.
Lundin announced a $600-million share offering in connection with the acquisition, one of the largest equity issues in the Canadian mining industry this year. Franco also raised half a billion dollars in August to help finance its part of the acquisition.
Lundin produces copper, zinc, nickel and lead from mines in Europe, Africa and the United States. The acquisition will boost its production to 237,000 tonnes of copper next year from 128,000 tonnes without the new mine.
The Candelaria acquisition will be the second-biggest deal in the Canadian mining industry this year. Earlier, Canadian gold miners Yamana Gold Inc. and Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. bought Osisko Mining for nearly $4-billion.
The Lundin-Freeport deal is expected to close before the end of the year. Japan’s Sumitomo Corp. would retain a 20-per cent stake in the Chilean mine.