China’s state-backed Silk Road Fund, a $40-billion pool established to invest in countries along the ancient Silk Road trade routes in Central Asia, has entered talks for a joint bidding for Glencore Plc’s gold mine in Kazakhstan.
The fund has teamed up with China National Gold Group Corp. on a possible joint offer for the Vasilkovskoye mine, which insider sources say could fetch around $2 billion, according to a report from China Daily published Friday.
The group is currently in discussions with Glencore, although there is still no certainty of who will emerge victorious in the bidding, the report said.
According to its official website, the Silk Road Fund was established in 2014 with the official backing from China’s sovereign wealth fund, the state-owned Export-Import Bank of China and policy lender China Development Bank Corp.
The Beijing-based fund is joined by Chinese gold producers Shandong Gold Mining Co. and Zijin Mining Group Co. as potential bidders for the asset, people familiar with the matter said in June.
China has seen an estimated $9.6 billion worth of mining acquisitions this year as commodity prices begin to bounce back, a 36-percent increase compared to the same period the previous year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
“Chinese miners are competing to secure gold assets, because there’s a consensus that domestic demand will far outstrip local supply due to fast-growing investment demand,” Wang Rong, an analyst at Guotai Junan Futures Co., told China Daily in a phone interview on Thursday. “The valuation of gold assets might still have potential to rise given the bullish outlook in the bullion market now.”
The talks come after China Molybdenum Co. announced in May that it has agreed to buy a controlling stake in Freeport-McMoRan Inc.’s copper mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo for $2.65 billion, following a $1.5-billion deal in April for Anglo-American Plc.’s niobium and phosphate business.
China National Gold also said in April that it has plans to purchase Eldorado Gold Corp.’s Jinfeng gold mine in Guizhou Province for $300 million.