Global firms circling Lisheen
Companies from Asia, Africa and Europe are all still in negotiations to buy Lisheen Mines, a Tipperary zinc and lead mine which is being sold by mining giant Anglo American, sources say.
The loss-making mine, which has a remaining lifespan of four years, is being sold as part of a garage sale which also includes zinc mines in Namibia and South Africa. Some of the companies interested want to buy Anglo's entire zinc assets while others want to pick and choose from among the mines.
China Minmetals, one of the world's largest companies, is believed to be among the Asian companies looking at Lisheen.
Such a deal would mark the first major investment by a Chinese company in Ireland. China Minmetals and other state-owned companies have been snapping up mines in Africa and elsewhere over the past decade to supply China with the raw materials to power its booming manufacturers.
The sale would make the Chinese company responsible for the site clean-up between the villages of Moyne and Templetuothy after the closure of the mine. Anglo had set aside more than $30m for this. The Australian government blocked the proposed sale of Oz Minerals to China Minmetals on national security grounds last year.