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Top Brazil Smelter Considers Buying Into Copper Mines

Paranapanema SA, Brazil’s biggest copper smelter, said it’s in an “advanced” stage of analysis of four possible purchases of stakes in mining projects as the company seeks better procurement terms.

Owning a share of mines will allow Paranapanema to buy copper concentrate cheaper than on the international market, where its gets about 75 percent, Chief Executive Officer Luiz Antonio Ferraz Jr. said today in a telephone interview. He declining to give details of the deals.

“Small and medium mineral deposits aren’t targets of the big miners, so there is a very big space for us to act together with strategic partners,” he said from Santo Andre, Brazil. “We have here four projects in quite an interesting stage.”

Paranapanema, based in Dias D’Avila, Brazil, is cutting costs, boosting production capacity and selling assets as it seeks to reverse losses amid slower growth in Latin America’s largest economy. The company, which is investing about 1 billion reais ($477 million) until 2014, posted on Nov. 14 a third-quarter net loss of 177 million reais, its fourth straight quarterly loss.

Paranapanema expects to produce about 260,000 metric tons of refined copper next year, 44 percent more than an estimated 180,000 tons this year, after suffering 74 days of stoppages in 2012, Ferraz said. The producer, which is seeking to boost capacity to 320,000 tons as early as in 2015, sees copper-product demand growing 7 percent to 8 percent in 2013, he said.

Paranapanema gained 3.2 percent to 3.54 reais at the close in Sao Paulo today. The stock advanced 20 percent this year.

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