Trafigura, Mubadala Said to Weigh Sale of Spanish Copper Miner

Commodities trader Trafigura Group and Abu Dhabi wealth fund Mubadala Investment Co. are considering the sale of a Spanish copper miner amid rising demand for the base metal, people familiar with the matter said.

The joint owners have been discussing a potential disposal of Minas de Aguas Tenidas, known as Matsa, according to the people. The operations could be valued at about $2 billion or more in a sale, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.

Matsa could be one of the largest copper assets to come to the market in Europe this year. The company owns the Agua Tenidas, Sotiel and Magdalena mines in southern Spain, which produce copper, zinc and lead concentrates.

The venture could attract interest from large miners seeking to expand their copper portfolios, according to the people. The price of the metal has jumped about 40% over the past year amid renewed demand from China. Trafigura and Mubadala are likely to appoint an adviser to assist with the sale in the coming days, the people said.

No final decisions have been made, and there’s no certainty the deliberations will lead to a sale, the people said. Representatives for Trafigura and Mubadala declined to comment.

Trafigura posted record annual trading profits last year, demonstrating how the global disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic was a boon for dealers of commodities from metals to crude. Matsa’s annual production approached 100,000 metric tons of copper equivalent last year, according to the group’s annual report.

The commodities trader sold a 50% stake in Matsa to Mubadala in 2015 as part of plans to team up on base-metals investments. Mubadala paid about $500 million for the stake, a person familiar with the matter said at the time.

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