Chinese gold mining firms have said for years they have been on the overseas acquisition trail, especially as the recent crash in commodity prices has sent asset prices tumbling. Few have managed to land any gilt-edged deals on foreign turf – but Zijin Mining Group is now standing head and shoulders above the crowd as being able to buy at just the right time.
One of three state-backed gold miners listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange, Xiamen-based Zijin has also been by far the most aggressive.
The company has spent about 7.9 billion yuan since 2010 on 13 transactions, mainly buying stakes in gold and copper projects in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Australia, Tajikistan, Papua New Guinea, Peru and Canada, more than double the 3.3 billion yuan it has invested in domestic mines.
Its biggest deal was worth 2.52 billion yuan, for a 49.5 per cent stake in Canadian mining major Ivanhoe Mines’ Kamoa copper project in the Congo in western Africa, completed last year.
In 2011, Zijin also bought outright Australia’s Norton Gold Fields, which operates the Paddington mine in Western Australia state’s Kalgoorlie region, in a deal worth 1.44 billion yuan, raising its stake to 100 per cent from 16 per cent.
And in Papua New Guinea, later last year, it bought a 50 per cent stake in the Porgera gold mine from the world’s largest gold producer, Canadian firm Barrick Gold Corp, for 1.82 billion yuan.
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