Australia's Sandfire Resources to buy Spanish copper miner MATSA for $1.87 billion

FILE PHOTO: Aerial view of Sandfire's Degrussa copper operations in Western Australia August 5, 2018. REUTERS/ Melanie Burton

(Reuters) - Sandfire Resources Ltd said on Thursday it would buy the Minas De Aguas Teñidas (MATSA) mining complex in Spain for $1.87 billion, a move that would turn it into one of Australia’s largest copper-focused metal producers.

The deal is with global commodities trader Trafigura and Abu Dhabi state investor Mubadala, which co-own MATSA and its three underground mines in southern Spain. The mine also produces zinc and lead concentrate and has a mine life of over 10 years.

Copper prices have surged this year, hitting a record high above $10,000 a tonne in February as a global shift towards a lower carbon economy has increased demand for the metal.

“Base metal assets which offer this combination of scale, grade, mine life and exploration upside are extremely rare globally,” Sandfire Chief Executive Officer Karl Simich said.

After the acquisition, the Perth-based firm expects to produce 170-194 kilo tonnes of copper equivalent in fiscal 2022. It had produced 70,845 tonne copper in fiscal 2021.

Sandfire will fund part of the deal through a A$1.25 billion ($903.63 million) placement at A$5.40 per share, a 13.2% discount to its last close. A slew of banks including ANZ and Citi will also provide debt funding for the deal.

($1 = 1.3833 Australian dollars)

Reporting by Yamini C S in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich