Large scale property acquisitions peaked in 2016–2017 led by China Molybdenum’s purchase of the Tenke Fungurume mine in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
China Molybdenum bought Freeport-McMoRan’s (NYSE: FCX) 56% stake in the copper-cobalt mine in November 2016 and picked up Lundin Mining’s (TSX: LUN) 24% interest in April 2017 for a total consideration of $3.8 billion, based on data from Mining Intelligence.
The second-largest transaction since 2015 was Yancoal Australia’s (ASX: YAL) Warkworth purchase, while another large coal buy – Glencore’s (LSE: GLEN) Hunter Valley purchase from Rio Tinto (NYSE: RIO; LSE: RIO) – falls just outside the top 10.
Targets in the top 10 are all producing mines with the majority being copper operations. Battery metals make an appearance at no. 9, with US lithium giant Albemarle (NYSE: ALB) closing on the Wodgina spodumene transaction in late 2019, only to put the Pilbara site on care and maintenance shortly after.
Newmont’s (TSX: NGT; NYSE: NEM) acquisition of Anglogold Ashanti’s (NYSE: AU) Cripple Creek and Victor complex in Colorado is the single gold mine transaction in the top 10, although with gold prices rallying to record highs the industry could well see a great number of large precious metals deals in the future.
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