OZ Minerals Ltd, the world’s second-largest zinc mining company, said a number of companies are studying buying its Martabe gold project in Indonesia after the company put all its operations for sale to help reduce debt.
“There are a number of parties who are very interested and they have done a lot of work on the evaluation,” Andrew Michelmore, chief executive officer of the Melbourne-based company, said on a call with media, without identifying any suitors. “Martabe is worth more to a gold company than it is to us.”
OZ Minerals is trying to refinance at least US$560 million of debt and said it will consider selling assets, shares or the entire company to provide cash. The worst financial crisis since the Great Depression has frozen lending and stalled economic growth, cutting demand for metals.
“We will do anything to get through this that is in the interests of our shareholders,” Michelmore said. “If someone came and bid for the company then that would obviously be one way to get value.”
OZ Minerals, which has had its shares halted from trading since November 27 while it seeks to refinance debt, plunged 77% to 55 Australian cents a share since its creation in July when Oxiana Ltd bought Zinifex Ltd It has a market value of A$1.7 billion (US$1.2 billion).
The company has been seeking a joint venture partner for the development of the Prominent Hill mine in South Australia for as long as six months, Michelmore said. BHP Billiton Ltd may be interested in buying the A$2.5 billion copper and gold mine, Goldman Sachs JBWere Pty said December 10.