Kazakh copper producer Kaz Minerals is considering acquiring a majority stake in the Baim copper project in Chukotka, Kaz Minerals said on the London Stock Exchange.
Baim copper-porphyry area is a large copper project in Chukotka with copper reserves of 9.5 million tons, its content in ore is 0.43%, while there is gold in the rock - 16.5 million ounces with a content of 0.23 grams per tonne , quotes KAZ Minerals. The license for the development of the deposit is owned by Baimskaya GRK, owned by co-owners Evraz and minority shareholders of Norilsk Nickel Roman Abramovich and Alexander Abramov. Last year, Goldman Sachs estimated the development of Baimskaya area of $ 4.2 billion. The bank in its review indicated that the launch of the area is planned in 2023.
Kaz Minerals is not sure that the purchase of the majority stake will take place and can not name the terms of the possible acquisition. The President of Invest AG (the fund of Alexander Abramov and Alexander Frolov) Sergey Bratukhin confirmed the fact of negotiations to Vedomosti. Earlier, he said that the company would be in 2018 "to study in detail strategic options for the development of the project." "We are considering a partnership with Norilsk Nickel or another strategist," he said.
The Kazakh company is not the only contender for Baim Square. "Norilsk Nickel" is studying the possibility of entering the project for several years. The president and the main owner of "Norilsk Nickel" Vladimir Potanin said more than once that in the long term with the Baim project it is possible to unite Bystrinsky. Bystrinsky GOK is a subsidiary of Norilsk Nickel, which extracts copper in the Trans-Baikal Territory. Bystrinsky GOK will produce 67,000 tons of copper, 2.9 million tons of magnetite concentrate and 252,000 ounces of gold. Norilsk Nickel owns 50.07% of Bystrinsky GOK, Potanin and Grigory Berezkin - CIS NRF Holdings hold 36.6%, and the Chinese Highland Fund Concern - 13.33%. "And if we succeeded in enlarging this [Bystrinsky] project, then in principle it could have an independent future in China. For example, go through the listing on the Shanghai or Hong Kong Stock Exchange, "Potanin said in an interview with Rossiyskaya 24.
The analyst of ACRA Maxim Khudalov has a positive outlook for the development of the Baim project. The owners have already conducted geological exploration work for the preparation of a feasibility study at the Peschanka deposit (the main asset of the Baimskaya area), so the project is large and promising. Khudalov notes that the remoteness of the project and the lack of infrastructure can be a negative factor in negotiations with potential investors, but the proximity of the Chinese copper market can compensate for this.