Anglo American signs exploration JV with Arc Minerals in Zambia

London-listed exploration play Arc Minerals has secured a joint venture (JV) arrangement with Anglo American that will see the major take majority control of the junior’s copper-cobalt licences in Zambia.

Anglo will invest up to US$88.5 million, including a cash consideration of up to $14.5 million, for 70% of the JV, which encompasses Arc’s prospective licences in the Domes region of the Zambian copperbelt near world-class mines such as First Quantum Minerals’ Sentinel and Kansanshi copper mines.

“This agreement represents a major turning point for Arc and follows many months of negotiations,” said executive chairman Nick von Schirnding, who was previously a senior executive with Anglo and De Beers.

Zambia’s North-Western province is an area Anglo last explored in the late 1990s. The deal resembles a first new investment in Zambia by Anglo in 20 years, and comes as interest in the country begins to ramp up following the election of Hakainde Hichilema last August

Hichilema’s new government has been keen to champion private investment in the country alongside reforms to business regulations, particularly in the mining sector. At the Investing in African Mining Indaba earlier this week, the President underscored plans to more than triple its annual copper output within the next decade to 3 million tonnes a year.

Zambia is already Africa’s second largest copper producer, behind the Democratic Republic of Congo.