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Kores to sell Cobre Panama stake in May

South Korea’s state-owned Korea Resources (Kores) has called for bids for its 10% stake in the Cobre Panama copper mine in Panama majority owned and operated by First Quantum Minerals, with up to five companies believed to be participating in the tender.
Kores to sell Cobre Panama stake in May Kores to sell Cobre Panama stake in May Kores to sell Cobre Panama stake in May Kores to sell Cobre Panama stake in May Kores to sell Cobre Panama stake in May

Cobre Panama in Panama

Kores has participated in the project, which commenced production in February, since 2012, while reports it wants to sell its interest began circulating as long ago as 2014. The company aims to select a final bidder in May. In January 2018, it sold a precious metal stream its Cobre Panama interest to Franco-Nevada for US$178 million.

Kores was a founding partner of Korea Panama Mining (KPM), a 50:50 joint venture between Kores and LS-Nikko Copper, which bought a 20% interest in the project in 2012 from former owner Inmet Mining. Inmet was acquired by First Quantum in 2013 and LS-Nikko sold its stake in KPM to First Quantum in August 2017, while retaining its 10% offtake rights.

The $6.3 billion Cobre Panama mine is ramping up output towards 350,000 tonnes per year with commercial production expected to be declared in 2020. Under its investment, Kores expected to receive a supply of 35,000tpy of copper.

Korea Resources was set up in 2008 with ambitions to become a top 20 mining and resources company by 2020, but that ambition appears to have come to an end as a result of losses incurred during its excursion into mining and following a March 2018 decision in which the Korean government bade state-run energy development companies to sell overseas assets.

Kores has since sold a 4% stake in the Moolarben coal mine in Australia in 2018. More recently, earlier this year, it sold 7.95% stake in Hudbay Minerals' Rosemont project in Arizona, USA.

Kores also owns 90% of the Boleo copper-cobalt-zinc-manganese mine project in Baja California Sur, Mexico that produces about 50,000tpy of copper and 1,700tpy of cobalt. It is a 27.5% partner with Sherritt International and Sumitomo in the Ambatovy 60,000tpy nickel mine in Madagascar. It took a 30% stake in the Santo Domingo copper project in Chile operated by Capstone Mining that is due to commence construction in 2020.