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UAE’s IHC suspends bid for Vedanta’s copper assets in Zambia. Here’s why

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The International Resources Holding (IRH) has suspended its offer to purchase a portion of Vedanta Resources Ltd.’s copper mines in Zambia on Wednesday.

The United Arab Emirates-based firm cited the breakdown of negotiations over the assets’ valuation.

In April, IRH, a division of the International Holding firm of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the richest firm in the emirate, made a bid to purchase a 51% share in Vedanta’s Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) for more than $1 billion.

After acquiring a 51% share in Mopani Copper Mines in a deal that was finalized in March, it had desired the mines to strengthen its copper presence in Zambia.

IRH, however, stated to Reuters that it was “not currently pursuing the acquisition of a majority stake in the Zambian assets.”

“IRH terminated the transaction discussions two months ago due to discrepancies in valuation,” it added in an emailed statement.

The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, a larger regional oil giant, are attempting to take part in the shift to renewable energy by securing essential metal supplies from Africa. Vedanta owns 80% of KCM, with the remaining shares held by the Zambian government via the state company ZCCM-IH.

Vedanta Base Metals CEO Chris Griffith revealed to Reuters in June that IRH was one of the investors completing due diligence on the Zambian assets. A person familiar with the situation told Reuters that although IRH was willing to pay nearly twice as much for a larger shareholding,

Vedanta was only willing to sell a minority equity investment of roughly 30%. IRH had offered roughly $1 billion for a 51% stake in KCM. Since they were not authorized to talk in public on the matter, the source chose not to give their name.

After a five-year struggle to reclaim the copper mines and smelter that the former Zambian president Edgar Lungu’s administration had taken control of, Vedanta, owned by Indian billionaire Anil Agarwal, finally took back control of KCM late last year. The government had accused the company of neglecting to invest in increasing copper production.

In an attempt to raise the roughly $1.2 billion needed to pay off debts, resurrect operations, and advance the Konkola Deep Mining Project—which is home to one of the world’s richest copper deposits—the miner has been attempting to sell a portion of its ownership in the Zambian copper mines.

“Vedanta remains committed to exploring all funding options – both debt and equity – which are aligned with what we believe is in the best interests of KCM,” a spokesperson said via email.
The spokesperson declined to comment on “any ongoing discussions or negotiations” with potential partners.

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Musings From Abroad

IMF lowers Botswana’s growth projection for 2024

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In a statement, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) reduced its earlier April estimate of 3.6% growth for Botswana to 1%, primarily because of decreased diamond production.

In addition, the IMF warned that a decline in mineral income would cause the budget deficit to balloon to 6% from 3.45% and urged the diamond-rich nation in southern Africa to think twice before embarking on new infrastructure projects to support the economy.

“The continued (economic) slowdown is mainly due to a fall in diamond production,” said IMF said in a statement released late on Friday.

“Some fiscal relaxation is warranted this year given the fall in mineral revenues, but the execution of the ambitious capital budget should be slowed down to contain the deterioration of the deficit and prioritize projects with the highest returns,” the IMF said.

 

The demand prognosis for diamonds, which are typically regarded as luxury goods, has decreased due to weaker consumer demand and a weakening in the global economy.

Finance Minister Peggy Serame predicted in February that the economy would expand by 4.2%, but a few months later the central bank issued a warning, stating that the ongoing challenges in the world diamond market made it doubtful that this goal would be met.

Diamond sales account for 30–40% of Botswana’s total revenue and 75% of its foreign exchange profits.

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Musings From Abroad

Russian state company, Malian junta negotiate nuclear deal

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According to Rosatom, the Russian state nuclear business and the ruling military junta in Mali have signed three cooperation agreements and discussed several projects, including the construction of a low-power nuclear power plant with Russian design, on Wednesday.

For years, Rosatom has been pursuing a charm offensive in Africa in an attempt to secure business through the signing of cooperation agreements with nations all over the continent. As part of that effort, closer ties have been made with juntas in the Sahel region of West Africa, who have retreated from conventional Western allies after seizing power in coups before 2020.

Junta-led administrations in the West African states of Burkina Faso, Guinea, Niger Republic, and Mali have all tilted towards Russia for military ties, severing relations with former colony France and its international ally, the United States.

In a statement, Rosatom claimed that it had met with Assimi Goita, the head of Mali’s junta, on July 2 and 3. It has talks with junta authorities in charge of energy, education, and economics.

The statement added that in addition to talking about a “strategic project to build a Russian-designed low-power nuclear power plant in Mali,” junta leaders and Rosatom also discussed geological exploration projects and solar power generating.

Regarding the projected low-power nuclear power station that might be constructed in Mali, Rosatom withheld information.

“The parties agreed to continue maintaining close contacts and periodically coordinate positions as joint work progresses,” it said.

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