Zambia will select a new investor for Luanshya Copper Mines (LCM) next week after receiving bids from India's Vedanta Resources Plc, China's NFC Africa and two local firms, a minister said on Friday.
Mines minister Maxwell Mwale said London-listed Vedanta (VED.L: Quote), NFC Africa and local firms Exco Corporation and Luanshya Minerals Resources had submitted bids for LCM before the Thursday deadline.
Vedanta already operates Zambia's largest copper producer, the Konkola Copper Mines, and NFC Africa operates the Chambishi copper mine.
Our technical committee is currently evaluating the bids and we hope by next weekend we should come up with a company to open negotiations with, Mwale told Reuters.
He said the two local firms had partnered with big global mining firms, but declined to give further details.
The successful bidder will be offered 75 percent equity in LCM.
LCM shut down in December after its owners said its Chambishi Metals Plc and Baluba copper mine units had been making losses due to lower metal prices and effects of the global financial crisis.
The former owners of Luanshya Copper Mines, Bein Stein Group Resources (BSGR) and International Mineral Resources (IMR), suspended the Mulyashi copper project, which was expected to start producing 60,000 tonnes copper by 2010.
Mwale said in February the UK's Lion Finance and South Africa's Shanduka Group were potential contenders for LCM, but he did not say what had happened to their initial interest.
The Zambian government, which has put the Luanshya mine on the block, expects an enterprise value of at least $230 million, officials familiar with the development say. (Reporting by Shapi Shacinda; Editing by Serena Chaudhry)
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