Freepoint signs first metals offtake with gold mine in Brazil

Wed Jan 2, 2013 7:55pm EST
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* Deal follows buying JPMorgan's physical concentrate unit

* First oil, gas property purchase in December

* Investment in line with Freepoint expansion strategy

* Gold focus breaks with traditional focus on copper, zinc

NEW YORK, Jan 2 (Reuters) - Freepoint Commodities LLC has signed its first metals mine financing deal since the upstart commodities trading house, run by former top executives at Sempra, made its foray into metals trading six months ago.

The news comes just two weeks after the Stamford, Connecticut-based firm made its first property acquisition in the oil and gas sector as part of chief executive David Messer's strategy to create a physical commodities merchant.

The expansion beyond energy also follows a tough year for many natural gas trading houses, which struggled to find opportunities to reap big profits from low and rangebound gas prices.

As part of the terms announced on Wednesday, its Freepoint Metal & Concentrates LLC unit will finance the development and expansion of the Salinas gold mine in Brazil owned by Brazahav Resources Inc, a privately held company headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, it said.

In return, Freepoint will receive all the gold and silver produced at the mine, which is located near Pocone, Mato Grosso.   Continued...