Trafigura Seeks EMED Board Dismissal in Spanish Copper-Mine Spat

Trafigura Beheer BV wants to remove the chairman and other directors of EMED Mining Public Ltd., saying they lack the financial resources and management capabilities to restart a Spanish copper mine.

Trafigura, which owns about 18 percent of the London-listed company, sent a legal notice requisitioning a shareholder vote to remove all but one of the current directors and replace them with its own nominees, EMED said today in a statement.

The attempted board coup comes as Trafigura, the world’s second-biggest metals trader, wants to combine its Aquas Tenidas mine in Spain with EMED’s nearby Rio Tinto operation. EMED said it expects to secure final permit approvals before the end of the year and has identified $50 million in potential cost savings as it seeks to bring the mine near Seville back into production.

“The current EMED board is failing to serve the interests of shareholders,” Trafigura said in an e-mailed statement. “The company as currently constituted does not have the financial resources or management capabilities to restart the Rio Tinto mine.”

The only EMED board member Trafigura doesn’t want to remove is Harry Liu, the nominee director of Yanggu Xiangguang Copper Co. Ltd. The Chinese company has the right to one EMED board seat, Trafigura said. Yanggu Xiangguang owns 14 percent of EMED’s shares, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Trafigura’s four board nominees include its head of mergers and acquisitions, Jesus Fernandez. A majority of EMED shareholders must vote in favor of the proposed board changes at an extraordinary meeting, Trafigura said.

EMED said it’s considering Trafigura’s request and plans to make a further announcement “in due course.”

EMED’s Spanish mine is the same deposit from which Rio Tinto Group derives its name.

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