Global mining M&A deals to be bolstered by China in 2019

Chinese companies will lead the ongoing rebound of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in the global mining sector in 2019, according to delegates at the China Mining conference in Tianjin.

M&A activity in mining powerhouse Canada reached a seven-year high in the third quarter of 2018, boosted by Barrick Gold Corp’s planned US$6.5 billion acquisition of Randgold and Chinese firm Zijin Mining’s $1.43 billion deal to buy Nevsun Resources.

Keith Spence, president of Canada-based Global Mining Capital Corp told audiences at the conference that his company thinks 2018 and 2019 will be years of ‘consolidation’ in the sector.

“Now the market is up and we’re getting a lot of interest from the Chinese,” said Spence before explaining that a round of M&A or consolidation to kickstart investment is the only answer when nobody is replenishing reserves.

“People used to talk about peak oil. I think people are starting to talk about peak gold and in some ways peak copper,” he added.

Elsewhere, delegates confirmed that Chinese investors are increasingly keen on battery metals such as lithium and cobalt. PwC transaction services partner Ken Su said that his company has more clients coming to them for consultancy services on gold, lithium and copper projects.