Lundin Mining eyeing mines for up to $600 mln-paper

STOCKHOLM, Sept 28 Fri Sep 28, 2012 2:17am EDT

STOCKHOLM, Sept 28 (Reuters) - Canadian-Swedish group Lundin Mining is hunting for zinc and copper mine acquisitions and further ways to boost production, Chief Executive Paul Conibear said in Swedish business daily Dagens Industri.

After failed merger deals in 2011, Lundin has been focusing on expanding its existing mines like the Tenke-Fungurume copper-cobolt mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo but is now looking at new production.

"We are looking at copper and zinc mines that produce 30,000 to 70,000 tonnes of metal per year," Conibear said.

"We are going to be very disciplined, but when we find something for the right price, we will act quickly and aggressively."

He said that Lundin was looking for targets primarily in Europe, Canada, Mexico and South America, but not Russia.

Lundin Mining, listed in both Toronto and Stockholm, has up to 4 billion crowns ($604.05 million) to spend on acquisition, the paper said.

Early in 2011, Lundin agreed a $9 billion tie up with rival miner Inmet Mining.

But this fell apart after Equinox Minerals launched a hostile bid for Lundin. Equinox itself was taken over by Barrick Gold and Lundin failed to attract any new suitors and has since then been focusing on expanding its existing mines.

The Tenke project, which is operated by Freeport McMoRan, is on its way to total annual output of 195,000 tonnes of copper cathode. The expansion is expected to be completed in 2013.

Conibear said further investment could take production to close to 300,000 tonnes by 2015.

Lundin is also looking at expanding ore production at its Zinkgruvan mine in Sweden by up to 40 percent to 1.4-1.5 million tonnes a year from the current 1.1 million tonnes.

"We have had a very strong development at Zinkgruvan this year and production is at a record level," he said. "We hope to be able to make a decision on expansion at the end of the year."

At the Neves-Corvo mine in Portugal, Lundin is looking at spending $500 million over the next 5-6 years to boost production.

"Another alternative is for a smaller production increase with less risk," Conibear said, adding that decision would also be taken at the end of the year.

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