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Report: Glencore mulls bid to buy back Optimum coal mine in South Africa

Glencore PLC is thinking about bidding for the Optimum coal operations in South Africa, which the commodities trader previously sold to a Gupta family-connected company, Bloomberg News reported March 27, citing sources.

The Swiss miner placed the mine under bankruptcy protection in 2015 after South African power utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. refused to renegotiate an unprofitable supply contract and meted penalties, according to the report.

In 2016, Gupta family-owned Oakbay Investments Pty Ltd.'s Tegeta Exploration and Resources Pty Ltd. acquired the mine from Glencore for 2.15 billion rand.

Eskom, which sources the fuel from Optimum mine, previously confirmed that the mine started business rescue proceedings in February, as banks refuse to work with them due to links to former President Jacob Zuma.

Other interested bidders for the Optimum mine includes Exxaro Resources Ltd. and the Phakasmisa Consortium, led by Exxaro's former CEO Sipho Nkosi. The report also named Seriti Resources Pty Ltd. as a potential bidder.