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Abu Dhabi’s International Holding Company targets struggling Lubambe mine


A unit of International Holding Company, Abu Dhabi’s most valuable company is said to be interested in acquiring Zambia’s Lubambe copper mine.

This according to a report from Reuters seen by Zambian Monitor.

Lubambe is an asset that China’s JCHX Mining had already agreed to buy as per three sources familiar with the details.

International Resources Holding recently told EMR Capital that it was interested in bidding for the private equity manager’s 80 percent stake in the Lubambe copper project, which was up for sale.

The development may complicate a sale process that’s already underway according to two of the sources.

The IHC unit’s interest in Lubambe, with potential to be among Zambia’s largest copper mines, comes after Shanghai-listed JCHX, a mine servicing and contracting firm, entered into a deal to buy EMR’s 80 percent stake in Lubambe in January, 2024.

The sale process required approval from the Zambian government, which was pending and unclear at the moment, one of the sources said.

Read more:Confidence renewed in Zambia’s economy as Abu Dhabi investor, IRH, formally takes over Mopani mine

The Zambian government owned a 20 percent stake in Lubambe through state-firm ZCCM-Investment Holding (ZCCM-IH).

The IHC unit’s interest is spurred by an aggressive push by cash-rich oil majors United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia to secure critical metal supply in Africa, as they bid to diversify their economies and engage with energy transition.

The Abu Dhabi firm became the Zambian government’s preferred investor for Mopani mines ahead of Sibanye Stillwater and China’s Zijin Mining Group, which had been shortlisted for the assets after a protracted selection process.

EMR, which has owned the Lubambe mine since 2017, wants to exit the project as its funds mature, after Covid-19 delayed its development, the sources said.

It also sold a 51 percent stake in adjacent Mingomba copper project for a sizable amount to California-based start up KoBold Metals.

EMR still holds a 28 percent stake in Migomba, alongside Zambia’s ZCCM-IH with 20 percent.

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