Good time for M&A: OZ

OZ Minerals boss Terry Burgess said the current confusion and concern across global markets was creating growth opportunities for the company.

Kristie Batten
Good time for M&A: OZ

“I’m sensing that there are more opportunities now than in the past,” Burgess told reporters on a teleconference this morning.

He said the company was well-placed to take advantage of those opportunities and his biggest focus of 2012 would be growth – internal or external.

“There are lots of places we’re looking for opportunities,” Burgess said.

He said in South America, Chile and Peru would be countries OZ would be comfortable with, while Zambia and Botswana could be places of interest in Africa.

Meanwhile, Burgess reflected on the company’s recent bid for Rosia Poieni copper mine in Romania, which was unsuccessful.

“It met all the requirements of our strategy,” he said.

The minimum price for the asset set by the Romanian government was around $A75 million but the successful bid was more than $250 million.

Burgess said he was reasonably happy the company wasn’t successful as it wasn’t prepared to overpay for any asset.

“We wanted to maintain a discipline and not overpay for the asset,” he said.

However, a member of the Canadian consortium which won the auction last week said it was having difficulties reaching a formal agreement with the Romanian government, after earlier reports suggested the deal was off.

Burgess said there was confusion surrounding the process and OZ was no longer involved but would monitor the situation.

However, he stressed internal growth through exploration would also be a focus for the company.

“It can add more value than anything else we can do,” he said.

The latest results from drilling at the Carrapateena project were 450m at 1.24% copper and 0.59 grams per tonne gold from 668m, including 203.7m at 1.87% copper and 0.93gpt gold and 658m at 1.97% copper and 0.67gpt gold from 741m, including 430.5m at 2.34% copper and 0.73gpt gold.

Prominent Hill

From Prominent Hill, OZ reported production of 27,182 tonnes of copper and 38,887 ounces of gold for the March quarter, slightly higher than the previous quarter.

C1 cash costs were US96.9c per pound, up from 84.2c/lb, due to the higher drawdown of run-of-mine stocks and a stronger Australian dollar but Burgess said costs fell in line with expectations.

A factor which may affect the company’s bottom line is the possible removal of the diesel fuel rebate in next month’s federal budget.

“It really is something that’s important to primary industry,” Burgess said.

He said the rebate should compensate for the installation of infrastructure, such as roads, rail and airstrips.

Burgess expected the removal of the rebate would impact the company’s earnings before interest and tax by around $A16-20 million per annum.

“That would be, to me, another tax on the company,” he said.

Shares in OZ last traded 11c higher to $9.53.


A growing series of reports, each focused on a key discussion point for the mining sector, brought to you by the Mining News Intelligence team.

A growing series of reports, each focused on a key discussion point for the mining sector, brought to you by the Mining News Intelligence team.


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