Lundin Mining Is Looking ‘Off Beaten Path’ for Acquisition

Lundin Mining Corp., the Canadian copper and zinc producer that was the target of two aborted takeovers last year, is looking to make an acquisition in 2012 valued at as much as $500 million.

“We’re looking at a few things that are non-public,” Chief Executive Officer Paul Conibear said today in an interview in Toronto, where the company is based. “I’d like to do something significant this year.”

In March, Lundin terminated an agreement to be acquired by Inmet Mining Corp., while defending itself against a hostile bid from Equinox Minerals Ltd. Lundin began a process to consider “strategic alternatives” and said in May that offers received for all or part of the company were too low. The Equinox bid ended in April when the Australian company agreed to be acquired by Barrick Gold Corp.

Conibear was Lundin’s senior vice president of corporate development in May when he was appointed to become interim CEO to replace Phil Wright. The CEO appointment was made permanent in late October.

Lundin rose 4.2 percent to C$5.17 in Toronto. The shares have gained 34 percent this month after falling 47 percent in 2011. That compares with a 31 percent decline last year in the 130-member Bloomberg World Mining Index.

The company will consider copper, zinc and nickel acquisitions in a range of $100 million to $500 million, Conibear said. One asset being examined is family owned, he said.

‘Off Beaten Path’

“We’re looking off the beaten path,” Conibear said. “Our stock price is still pretty low, so using our stock to acquire a publicly traded asset right now, paying the premiums and everything, would be pretty challenging.”

Acquisitions of non-public assets take longer to negotiate, Conibear said.

“But if we can land them, we will land them at pretty attractive prices,” he said.

Lundin mines in Portugal, Sweden, Spain and Ireland. The company owns a 25 percent stake in the Tenke Fungurume copper and cobalt mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which is controlled by Phoenix-based Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc.

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