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Report: Chinese miners mulling bids for Barrick's Zambian copper mine

Companies including China Minmetals Corp., Jiangxi Copper Co. Ltd. and Zijin Mining Group Co. Ltd. are considering bids for Barrick Gold Corp.'s Lumwana copper mine in Zambia that may be sold for about US$1 billion, Bloomberg reported Oct. 10, citing people with knowledge of the matter.

The potential sale, for which the company is said to have been eyeing Chinese buyers since May, will be part of CEO Mark Bristow's target of raising US$1.5 billion from asset sales by the end of 2020.

The bid considerations are at a premature stage, so there is no guarantee that a transaction will take place, the sources said, adding that China Molybdenum Co. Ltd. and Aluminum Corp. of China Ltd. were also invited to bid for the project.

None of the parties have directly commented on the scenario, according to the report.

Barrick said in January that it would consider all options for Lumwana as the Zambian government's proposed increase in mining taxes would put the mine in a challenging situation. The company expects the operation to produce 210 million to 240 million pounds of copper in 2019.

In August, Barrick reportedly tapped the Bank of Nova Scotia to sell part or all of its stake in the Tongon gold mine in Cote d'Ivoire.