Zambia has chosen International Resources Holdings (IRH), a unit of the United Arab Emirates’ International Holdings Company (IHC), as its new strategic equity partner for its struggling Mopani Copper Mines, according to a statement from state-owned ZCCM-IH on Thursday. Linked to Abu Dhabi’s valuable IHC, IRH will inject funds into Mopani for short-term working capital and mine development completion.

Mopani, previously owned 73.1% by Glencore, is an integrated copper producer located near the city of Kitwe, in the Copperbelt. In 2020, Mopani said in a media statement to Mining Weekly that in addition to the impacts of a rapid decline in the copper price, Mopani’s situation had been further impacted by the critical disruptions to international mobility, transportation and supply chains arising from Covid-19.

The deal is hoped to unlock Mopani’s long-term potential, restructure its balance sheet, and reset its existing relationship with Glencore. The partnership could boost Mopani’s copper production to 200,000 metric tons annually, with IRH making the largest single investment in its strategy to become a significant player in the African minerals sector.


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