Serbian government has launched a tender for selection of a strategic partner for Mining and Smelting Basin Bor (RTB Bor) – the Ministry of Economy has confirmed.
As stated in the public call for submission of offers, eligible companies include local or foreign companies which have exploited or produced copper and other noble metals continuously in the past 10 years. The company must have operating revenues that exceed USD 500 million, and the bid submission deadline is noon of 20th August. Potential investors must also provide a banking guarantee in the amount of USD 1 million.
The Serbian Mining and Energy Minister, Aleksandar Antic hinted several months ago, at the Kopaonik Business Forum, that the tender for RTB Bor would take this form, announcing that the state would require mandatory investments of USD 300 million from the selected strategic partner. In the meantime, the state has decided to raise the threshold.
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So far, 11 companies from Russia, China, Canada, Turkey and a Kazakh-European consortium have expressed an interest in forging a strategic partnership with RTB Bor. In the past year, they’ve signed confidentiality agreements and performed due diligence.
One of the interested companies is a Russian copper company with ties to businessman Milan Popovic. Among those interested are also Power China and Zijin Mining. Mehmet Cengiz, the owner of the Turkish company Cengiz Holding, also announced recently that the company would take part in the tender for RTB Bor. Canada’s Mundoro is another company that has shown an interest publicly, while Serbian Economy Minister, Goran Knezevic pointed out after his visit to Kazakhstan that companies from that country were interested as well.
Minister Antic announced several days ago that several serious bids were expected.
“In the past period, several foreign mining companies from various parts of the world have expressed an interest and we expect them to participate. The Chinese have become giants in the economic and industrial segment and if their offers are serious and if they recognize a strategic interest in RTB Bor, they may have a good chance of winning the tender”, Antic said.
RTB Bor employs 5,000 people directly, and provides sustenance for 20,000 people in total, said former Prime Minister, Ana Brnabic.
“I expect we are going to have a similar situation here like we’ve had with Zelezara Smederevo (the Smederevo Ironworks). However, RTB Bor is a much stronger company that will better respond to the needs for dynamic economic development,” the Prime Minister said.
She said that RTB Bor’s share in the national GDP stands at 0.8 percent and that it’s share, providing the bid goes the way it is expected, could go up by additional 1 percent, to 1.8 percent, which is important for economic development.
“We consider the future strategic partner to view RTB Bor as a development project and to ensure that it operates in the long run, as well as that it increases production so to have a major impact on the country’s GDP,” Serbian Mining Minister has said.
He adds that the strategic partner needs to recapitalize RTB or make new mining investments.
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