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Barrick not in rush to sell Lumwana copper mine in Zambia, CEO says

Barrick Gold Corp. is not in a hurry to sell the Lumwana copper mine in Zambia despite having received expressions of interest from potential bidders, Bloomberg News reported Oct. 25, citing CEO Mark Bristow.

The asset has reportedly attracted several Chinese miners, including China Minmetals Corp., Jiangxi Copper Co. Ltd. and Zijin Mining Group Co. Ltd. Bristow declined to comment on the companies and disputed an earlier report that Barrick would start the sale process in January, Bloomberg added.

Bristow also told Bloomberg that Lumwana is worth more than the US$735 million carrying value listed in its annual report. He said it could make sense for the mine to be bought by a company that has a copper smelter, since Lumwana has nowhere to process its material following the maintenance shutdown of two smelters in Zambia.

"What the Zambian mining industry needs is a re-arrangement of assets," Bloomberg quoted Bristow as saying.

In January, Barrick flagged the possible sale of Lumwana amid concerns about Zambia's proposed tax changes, which the country scrapped after opposition from miners.

Barrick aims to produce between 210 million and 240 million pounds of copper at Lumwana; the mine produced 224 million pounds of copper in 2018, according to the report.