Minmetals is preferred bidder for Glencore's Las Bambas copper mine

LONDON, March 4 Tue Mar 4, 2014 3:19am EST

LONDON, March 4 (Reuters) - Glencore Xstrata said that Minmetals is the preferred bidder for its Peruvian copper mine Las Bambas, an asset it agreed to sell to secure approval from China's competition authorities for its takeover of miner Xstrata.

"We are in discussions with the leading party. No secret, it is Minmetals. How long the negotiations will take is hard to say, but we are in discussions," Chief Executive Ivan Glasenberg said. "We had many interested parties, but they are the preferred bidder."

MMG - the Hong Kong-listed offshore arm of China Minmetals Corp - is bidding alongside CITIC group and other smaller partners.

China asked a sale of Las Bambas because it feared the merged group would have too much power over the copper market.