June 17, 2015 / 5:53 PM / 2 years ago

Mick Davis, Glencore among bidders for Anglo's Chile copper mines

3 Min Read

* Audley Capital also in the running

* Anglo American under pressure to sell non-core assets

* Mines worth around $500 mln- mining sources

By Silvia Antonioli and Freya Berry

LONDON, June 17 (Reuters) - Mining and trading company Glencore and X2, a vehicle set up by former Xstrata CEO Mick Davis, are among the companies that placed bids last week for two Anglo American copper mines in Chile, sources said this week.

British investment firm Audley Capital was also among the first round of bidders, the sources added.

The Mantos Blancos and Mantoverde copper mines in Chile together could fetch up to $1 billion, according to banking sources, but two mining sources familiar with the mines gave more conservative valuations of around $500 million or less.

"The deadline to submit the bids was a week ago and X2 is still in the running," a first banking source said. "Mick (Davis) seems keen on those assets."

An industry source said although Glencore was still in the process it was unlikely to make a high enough bid to win the assets.

"They are both mines towards the end of their life although with some investment Mantoverde's life can be extended," a second industry source said. "I would think a smaller firm like Audley is more likely to get them. Certainly the John MacKenzie connection is strong."

Audley Capital's mining CEO John MacKenzie was Anglo American's head of copper until 2013.

Anglo American, the smallest of the global diversified miners, is under pressure to dispose of some non-core assets to shore up its balance sheet and maintain its credit rating as it battles weak commodity prices.

A number of other companies, including private equity firms Warburg Pincus and Magris Resources and mining company Nevsun Resources and Chilean state-owned Codelco, had also shown interest in the mines, some of the very few copper assets up for grabs, the sources said.

The mining sector has been hit in the last three years by a steep decline in metals prices but copper is seen by analysts as one of the commodities with the brightest prospects given some supply constraints.

Another former mining chief, Tye Burt, is also interested in the Anglo assets, one of the people said. Burt was abruptly ousted from Kinross Gold in 2012 as the company struggled with asset write-downs and a plummeting share price.

Chilean copper miner Antofagasta, which had initially shown interest, had since pulled out of the process, two of the sources said.

Anglo American, X2, Glencore, Antofagasta and Warburg Pincus declined to comment. Audley Capital, Nevsun, Codelco and Magris did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Tye Burt could not be contacted for comment.

After a review last year, Anglo American said it would divest assets that did not meet its return criteria.

The London-listed mining firm is also looking to later dispose of its 50.1 percent stake in the El Soldado mine and the Chagres smelter, in which Codelco has a minority stake. (Additional reporting by Anthony Esposito in Santiago; editing by Susan Thomas)

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