Lundin Mining Corp. fell the most since March after it agreed to acquire Josemaria Resources Inc., a copper-gold project in Argentina, for C$625 million ($483 million).
The acquisition will expand Lundin’s copper-mining operations in South America, with a projected annual average output of 130,000 tons over Josemaria’s 19-year mine life, Lundin said Monday in a statement. Shares fell as much as 16%.
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Production should start in five years. Miners and investors are bullish on the outlook for copper due to its crucial role in global decarbonization efforts.
“Lundin Mining has limited track record on large-scale greenfield project development,” Morgan Stanley analyst Ioannis Masvoulas said in a note. “In addition, Argentina’s permitting process and Lundin’s planned review of the project design/economics could pose further challenges.”
The purchase in shares and cash represents a 29% premium to Josemaria’s average trading price in Toronto in the 10 days through Dec. 17, Lundin said.
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“The acquisition of the Josemaria project complements Lundin Mining’s existing portfolio of high-quality mines and highlights our focus on disciplined copper-focused growth,” said President and Chief Executive Officer Peter Rockandel.
Lundin led the broader decline in a group of copper miners on Monday after left-wing candidate Gabriel Boric was elected president of Chile on Sunday, raising concerns about higher costs and slower development in the world’s top producer. Lundin shares were down 15% at C$9.10 as of 1:48 p.m in Toronto.
“While permitting and stability agreements are still not secured, management stated that Lundin opted to sign the deal now, noting that Josemaria’s progress towards these milestones would lead to greater bidding tension for the asset,” according to Masvoulas, citing a conference call Lundin management hosted with analysts following the announcement of the acquisition.