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June 24, 2024
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BUSINESSFeatured

UAE Giant Flexes Muscles, Targets Zambia’s Copper Crown Jewel

Dubai’s International Holding Company (IHC), the emirate’s reigning corporate titan, has set its sights on Zambia’s prized Lubambe Copper Mine, throwing a wrench into a deal already clinched by China’s JCHX Mining. Industry insiders are abuzz with talk of a potential bidding war, with Zambia caught in the middle of a resource grab between two economic superpowers.

“This is a classic case of gatecrashing,” confided a source close to the negotiations, speaking to the Sunday Times on condition of anonymity. “JCHX had a binding agreement with EMR Capital, the current owners, but now IHC has emerged, seemingly unfazed.”

IHC’s interest in Lubambe, with the potential to be Zambia’s largest copper mine, aligns with the UAE’s broader strategy. As the world hurtles towards a greener future, copper – a vital component in renewable energy technologies – is becoming increasingly valuable. “It’s about securing their place at the table,” said a mining analyst, pointing to the UAE’s need to diversify its oil-dependent economy. “Copper is the new black.”

JCHX, a Shanghai-listed firm, secured a deal to buy EMR Capital’s 80% stake in Lubambe back in January. However, the deal hinges on approval from the Zambian government, which is yet to be granted. This wait has opened a window for IHC, which has reportedly approached both the government and the state-owned mining company ZCCM-IH, expressing its own interest.

“While JCHX remains confident of closing the deal,” a company source told the Sunday Times, “IHC’s move certainly adds a layer of complication.” The source declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter.

The interest from the UAE comes amidst a growing rivalry between Middle Eastern and Chinese firms in Africa’s resource-rich landscape. “It’s a fight for influence,” explained the mining analyst. “China has a long history in Africa, but the UAE, with its vast financial resources, is increasingly flexing its muscles.”

The outcome of this tug-of-war for Zambia’s copper crown jewel remains to be seen. But one thing is certain: the fight for Africa’s resources is intensifying, with Zambia potentially holding the trump card.

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