Glencore said to draw Liberty House bid for Australian mine

(iStock)
(iStock)

Melbourne - Liberty House, fresh off a deal for Australian steel mill Arrium, is among bidders for a Glencore [JSE:GLN] coal mine that could fetch as much as $380m, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Liberty House’s GFG Alliance joint venture submitted an indicative offer for the Tahmoor mine by the deadline last month, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. It’s among parties invited by Glencore to evaluate detailed information on the underground metallurgical coal mine ahead of second-round bids, the people said.

GFG Alliance, led by Sanjeev Gupta, plans to study using output from Tahmoor to feed its newly acquired steel plant in South Australia state, one of the people said.

The venture last week  agreed to buy the assets of Arrium out of administration, including the Whyalla steel works, port and rail infrastructure as well as shuttered iron ore mines. GFG Alliance said in February it will buy Tata Steel’s specialty steels business in the UK for about $130m.

While Glencore had been selling assets to fix its balance sheet after a commodity price rout, more recently it switched back to acquisitions through an agreement in February to boost ownership of two Congolese cobalt and copper mines. The commodity giant, led by billionaire Ivan Glasenberg, in May made a takeover approach for US grain trader Bunge, which has a market value of about $11bn.

A spokesperson for Glencore said a number of bidders are moving to the second stage of the sale process, declining to comment further. A representative for GFG Alliance declined to comment.

Glencore in 2016 announced plans to close Tahmoor in New South Wales state, before a surge in prices for metallurgical coal convinced the Swiss company to sell the operation. The mine produced 1.8 million metric tons of saleable coal last year and holds 57 million tons of reserves, according to a statement last month.

Prices for Australian seaborne coking coal have risen about 66% in the past year as China restricted output and cyclones disrupted supply in Australia, limiting supply from the world’s biggest exporter. Glencore shares have jumped 73% in the past year.

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