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Newmont reportedly in the race for Las Bambas copper mine
October 1, 2013

At the Denver Gold Forum, Newmont Mining Corp. chief executive officer Gary Goldberg said his company plans to expand copper production in addition to its core business of gold (ME, Sept. 27).

On Oct. 1, the Financial Times reported that Newmont could be making moves in that direction and has joined the race for Glencore Xstrata’s Las Bambas copper mining project in Peru as it continues to look for ways to diversify its business in a time of softening gold prices. Newmont the largest gold mining company in the United States and the second largest in the world would not confirm the report and a spokesman for the company told Reuters it does not comment on rumors.

However, in an interview, Goldberg told the Financial Times that Glencore’s Las Bambas Mine was “an interesting prospect.”

“The thing that is interesting is that it is further down the development path, it is closer to production,” Goldberg told the newspaper. “Clearly we wouldn’t do that on our own. We would look at doing something with other partners.”

During the Denver Gold Forum (Sept. 22-25), Goldberg told Bloomberg that his company will focus on assets with longer mine lives and lower costs and where the social, political and technical risk is manageable, he said.

The company is also willing to consider buying assets where the primary metal is copper, Goldberg, a former copper mining executive for Kennecott Utah Copper and Rio Tinto said. Newmont, which gets about 90 percent of its revenue from gold, already produces copper along with gold at some mines.

“It might be a good time to be buying,” Goldberg said. “It doesn’t mean we’re going to shoot for X million tons of copper production by a certain year.”

Glencore agreed to sell Las Bambas earlier this year to meet demands from China's antitrust authorities after its takeover of mining group Xstrata. The regulator feared the tie-up handed the newly formed commodities powerhouse too much clout in copper.