Romania launches sale of its largest copper mine

Sat Oct 29, 2011 5:42am EDT

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* Mine boasts 60 pct of Romania's copper resources

* Romania plans to hold autcion on Jan. 18, 2012

* Ten letters of intent submitted so far

BUCHAREST, Oct 29 (Reuters) - Romania launched the sale of its biggest copper mine Cupru Min SA Abrud via a tender, the government's industry privatisation office (OPSPI) said on its website. [here ]

OPSPI, which set a Jan. 17 deadline to submit bids, said it aimed to sell 100 percent in the mine which sits on about 60 percent of the European Union member's copper reserves, some 900,000 tonnes.

It said the auction will be held on Jan. 18.

Deputy economy minister Claudiu Stafie had said last month he hoped the privatisation would be wrapped up by the end of this year and that the ministry has received 10 letters of intent from investors willing to participate. [ID:nL5E7KL5FF}

Finance ministry data showed the company recorded a profit of 18.8 million lei ($6.2 million) last year. It has overall debts of around 72 million lei.

A government strategy paper showed earlier this year that Bucharest aimed originally to sell a stake in Cupru Min on the Bucharest stock exchange.

Romania's flat corporate profit tax at 16 percent, its skilled labour force and the presence of western explorers already active, are likely to encourage mining investment.

In addition, the government has recently unveiled plans to ease expropriation proceedings to make way for drilling sites. ($1 = 3.047 Romanian Lei) (Reporting by Radu Marinas; editing by Ron Askew)

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