Today’s Age reports that
China Minmetals Corp., China’s largest metals trading company, agreed to pay 2.6 billion Australian dollars ($1.7 billion) in cash for Melbourne-based copper producer OZ Minerals.
Most of OZ Minerals’ mines are in Australia, and the purchase comes in the wake of Chinalco’s purchase of shares in Rio Tinto. But what makes this interesting for us is that OZ Minerals also owns the Sepon mine, the only functioning copper mine in Laos, which ships mostly (or only?) to the Chinese market, but whose main customer has allegedly been executed for corruption. Recently the mine laid off 311 workers.
The mine´s former management has undertaken some “corporate social responsibility” projects, i.e., it has spent some money in nearby “communities” and financed the building of a stadium in nearby Savannakhet, so it has had a reasonably good relationship with the NGOs. It will be interesting to see if and how all that will change with the transfer of ownership.
See also the Sydney Morning Herald´s report here.