UPDATE 3-China's Zijin buys stakes in gold, copper projects

Wed May 27, 2015 1:02am EDT
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(Adds comment from Zijin executive)

HONG KONG/TORONTO May 27 (Reuters) - China's Zijin Mining Group , which announced two acquisitions on Tuesday for more than $700 million, believes now is the good time to buy overseas assets as the mining sector is weak, a senior executive said on Wednesday.

"In terms of acquisitions, now is the low level (of prices), good opportunity," the Zijin executive told Reuters.

The two acquisitions are shares in Barrick Gold's unit and Ivanhoe Mines' copper project.

The executive said gold and copper were the focus of the company's overseas assets. It bought the projects now because weak prices provided "good" prices for acquisitions, which also was in line with China's "One Belt, One Road" policy on overseas investment, he added.

Zijin did not consider consolidating overseas assets for an IPO currently, though that was possible in the future, he said.

When asked whether Zijin would continue to seek buying opportunities in overseas copper and gold mining assets, the executive said "depending on the opportunity."

Barrick Gold Corp said on Tuesday it has forged a strategic tie-up with Zijin Mining Group Co and agreed to sell the Chinese miner a stake in a mine in Papua New Guinea as a first step toward further collaboration.

Toronto-based Barrick, under the stewardship of Executive Chair John Thornton, has since 2013 vowed closer ties with the Chinese, as it attempts to reduce its debt load and cut capital expenditure risks around the development of large new projects. (reut.rs/1EuSi1q)   Continued...