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Here's A $1 Billion Bet That Copper Has Hit A Bottom

For the last few months it's seemed like few investors wanted to touch natural resources.

But now a flurry of activity appears to be emerging in the sector.

I noted last week how resource-focused private equity groups have been quietly amassing tens of billions in new funds. And this week, news suggests that such funds may be about to step into the copper market. Related: The Price Of ‘C’ In China

That news came in key copper-producing nation Chile. Where local press reported that investment funds have agreed to buy the Mantoverde and Mantos Blancos copper mines being sold by major miner Anglo American.

The price for the deal will reportedly be significant. Coming in at between $500 million and $1 billion.

The papers didn't name the particular groups involved in the sale. But did note that an "English investment fund" would be the buyer of the two mines. Related: Bullish Bets On Oil Go Sour

Interestingly, Reuters reported in June that British investment firm Audley Capital had been amongst the first round of bidders for the projects.

Whatever the identity of the buyer, the deal would be very significant for the mining sector. Representing one of the largest deployments of capital from the private equity sector into the industry during the recent downturn.

If the purchase does indeed materialize, it would be a confirmation that private equity is becoming a driving force in resource investment. Related: Congress To Lift Oil Export Ban Next Month?

That fact would be very encouraging for project developers. Signaling that money is still out there -- and a lot of it -- for mining projects. The key being that investments now have to fit the scale and specs being sought by billion-dollar funds globally.

Here's to a copper lining,

Dave Forest

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