Glencore and ZCCM-IH are in talks about ZCCM-IH acquiring additional shares in Glencore subsidiary Mopani Copper Mines, Glencore and Mines Minister have revealed.

ZCCM-IH holds a 10% stake in Mopani Copper Mines.

Glencore is the majority owner with 73.1% and First Quantum Minerals owns 16.9%.

Mines Minister Richard Musukwa told a media briefing on Tuesday that ZCCM-IH submitted an expression of interest to acquire additional shares in Mopani and Glencore responded favourably.

“The government has constituted a team to liaise with ZCCM-IH for the negotiations with Glencore. Furthermore, ZCCM-IH is in the process of engaging a transaction advisor,” Mr. Musukwa said.

Mr. Musukwa said the government is working closely with stakeholders, such as labour unions and suppliers, to ensure that operations continue to run smoothly during the negotiations.

Glencore said in a statement discussions with ZCCM-IH “and other shareholders” were progressing and further updates would be issued as appropriate.

John Gladston, a First Quantum spokesman, declined to comment.

“Glencore can confirm that it is in discussions with existing Mopani shareholder ZCCM-IH and other shareholders regarding the potential acquisition of additional shares by ZCCM-IH from Glencore,” the global commodities company said.

“The discussions are progressing and further updates will be issued as appropriate.”

Neither Mr. Musukwa nor Glencore said how many shares ZCCM-IH was looking to acquire.

Glencore’s announcement in April that it planned to place Mopani on care and maintenance sparked a backlash from Zambia’s government, which said it had not given enough notice and threatened to revoke the company’s mining licences.

In May, Mopani said it would resume mining operations for 90 days but still expected to go into care and maintenance – a term for a temporary production halt during which a mine site is maintained ahead of an eventual restart.

On July 16 the company said it would appeal the mine’s ministry’s decision to reject its proposal to suspend the operations.

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