Serbia to finalize copper mine sale

Tourism

The Serbian state-run commission responsible for selling the RTB Bor copper mining and smelting complex has announced that the tender procedure is now complete and two bids for the mine will be opened.

The commission will review technical documentation from the two bidders. They are A-Tec, a subsidiary of Austria’s Briksleg, and Russia’s Strikeforce Mining and Resources, a subsidiary of Basic Element, which in turn is owned by the industrialist Oleg Deripaska. “After reviewing documentation on Friday the commission will publish the bids. The mine will be sold to a highest bidder,” the commission announced in a statement on Thursday. Last week the commission asked Strikeforce to provide additional documentation.

The starting price for RTB Bor, whose operations include copper mines, smelters, a refinery, an energy producer, a foundry, a quarry and a copper-wire plant, was set at €247 million. Bidders were required to have at least two years of experience in producing, processing or selling copper or colored metals, with at least €168.5 million of profits in 2006 or at least €404.5 million in managed assets.

Earlier this year Serbia cancelled the sale of RTB Bor to Romania’s Cuprom for €270 million, arguing that the Romanian company had failed to guarantee payment. In the 1970s and ‘80s RTB Bor was the former Yugoslavia’s single largest copper producer. The company went into decline during the 1990s due to the Balkan wars, Serbia’s international isolation, and mismanagement under the regime of former President Slobodan Milosevic. (birn)

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