Adastra Minerals

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Adastra Minerals Inc (formerly America Mineral Fields Inc),[1] was a London-based mining company[2][3][4] with notable operations in central Africa (Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Zambia), particularly in copper, cobalt and zinc exploration. Adastra's properties and concessions were acquired in 2006 by First Quantum Minerals for $245m in cash and stock, outpacing a counter-offer by Mwana Africa plc. Founder Jean-Raymond Boulle and top UK insurer Prudential plc had owned 10% and 14% stakes in Adastra, respectively.

In the mid-1990s, the company became known for developing highly prospective copper and cobalt mines in Zaire during a civil war.[5]

History[edit]

American Mineral Fields[edit]

American Mineral Fields (AMF) was founded in 1995 to "develop diamond interests" in Brazil[4] by Mike McMurrough and Jean-Raymond Boulle.[6] American Mineral Fields was based in Hope, Arkansas and operated from Canada.[7] It was the "brainchild" of Boulle, a former executive at De Beers Diamonds in South Africa.[7] It was chaired by McMurrough, described as a personal friend of Bill Clinton.[8]

Early on, it operated as a penny-stock company listed in Vancouver[9] on the Vancouver and Toronto stock exchanges, but "lacked sufficient capital to develop mines on its own."[10] In 1996, when it was listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange for the first time, The Robertson Stephens Orphan Fund was among its largest shareholders.[11] In 1996, AMF was trading on the New York Stock Exchange, with a capitalization of US $ 37 billion.[7]

Military financing in Africa[edit]

AMFI had become involved in politics in the Congo[12][13] by 1996, when Mobutu Sese Seko was the President of Zaire, five years before he was deposed.[10] Overall, the representatives of AMFI signed three agreements to equal the $1 billion dollar deal for "the extraction of copper and cobalt in Kolwezi, cobalt in Kipushi, and the construction of a factory for the treatment of zinc in Kipushi." In Kisangani, AMF acquired an office to buy diamonds. In Lubumbashi, AMFI gave an "advance" of $51 million to finance their war and secure a date for future transactions.[10] The deal was later cancelled in 1998 by Congo's state mining company Gecamines.[14]

AMFI financed the Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo (ADFL)'s military campaign to depose Mobutu, by providing its corporate jet to ADFL leader Laurent-Désiré Kabila, and was awarded a mine contract by Kabila even before he came to power.[8]

In 1996, American Mineral Fields acquired Zairean mineral deposits using the state-owned mining company Gecamines.[7] Main AMF shareholder Jean-Raymonde Boulle signed the contract in mid April of 1996 in Zaire, calling the change “the triumphant liberation of the people of Zaire.[7] In particular, a copper-zinc mine at Kapushi in Shaba province was acquired, with reserves known to "stand at 22.6 million tons of copper and zinc, grading 2.1 per cent copper and 13.8 per cent zinc." It was later revealed that acquisition was done partly for the Anglo-American Corporation, with the two companies signing an agreement.[7] This occurred before AFDL rebels captured Kinshasa.[8] Around this time, AFDL rebels also extended a $60 billion contract to construct an orbital platform, beating out bidders from 60 other countries.[8]

In April 1997,[9][15] with the signing of a $1 billion deal with Zairian rebels looking to topple dictator Mobutu Sese Seko, Bouule was promised the right to a mine in the city of Kolwezi.[9] Kabila marched on the Zaire capital a month later, with American Mineral Fields getting one of the first mining contracts in the newly renamed Democratic Republic of Congo.[9]

In March 1997, When Kisangani fell to the AFDL, AMFI set up an office in Goma to make contact with Kabila, trading under the initials AMZ.[16]

The company signed deals with rebel leaders in the Republic of Congo in 1997, and in 1998, the $1 billion Kolwezi project was cancelled, with AMF blaming Anglo American for "interfering in its dealings with Gecamines and the Congo government."[17]

On January 2, 1998, AMFI's contract for the Kolwezi tailings was cancelled by the Kabila regime.[9] A week later, AMFI sued Anglo American Corp. for $3 billion for "allegedly interfering with its Congo deal"[9] over a contract,[18] filing the lawsuit in a Dallas court.[19]

In March 1998,[9] American Mineral and Anglo American ended their legal and instead began creating a joint venture[20] to jointly develop the Kolwezi project, and were still negotiating in July 1998 for the rights from the Congo government.[9]

As of 2003, the company had projects in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola. On September 26, 2020, it listed on the Alternative Investment Market in London, a secondary listing. It also had a primary listing on the Toronto stock exchange, and had just raised $15 million there in an open offer, with the money to be used to "carry out a feasibility study at two tailings dams at the Kolwezi copper and cobalt project in the Congo."[21]

Adastra Minerals[edit]

Adastra Minerals in 2004 contracted a "definitive feasibility study" on the DRC Kolwezi cobalt/copper tailings project to a joint venture of Murray & Roberts and GRD Minproc.[22] It was still being finalized in the middle of 2005.[23]

In 2004, Adastra Minerals rejected a buyout offer by First Quantum.[24] In 2005, the World Bank subsidiary The International Finance Corporation was considering taking a ten percent stake in a project owned by Adastra Minerals. Adastra had formerly been known as American Mineral Fields.[1]

Also in 2005, Adastra Minerals was still involved in copper and cobalt, and its "$300m Kolwezi cobalt and copper tailings deposit in Democratic Republic of Congo is attracting a high level of interest from South African financiers." At that point, Adastra's Kolwezi project had secured a 7.5% ownership stake from the International Finance Corporation, and 10% owned by Industrial Development Corporation in South Africa.[25]

In January 2006, First Quantum Minerals in Canada made a hostile bid[2] to acquire Adastra Minerals, with the bid rejected[4] for being too low.[2] In late April 2006, a second bid was put forward by Mwana Africa, with that bid rejected as well.[4] By 2006, the company was owner of the Kolwezi project as the as a "Kipushi copper and zinc mine."[26] The Kolwezi mine at the time as the "world's largest cobalt and copper surface resource," in the form of waste material from a former mine. It was expected to "produce 5,500 tonnes per year of cobalt and 30,000 tonnes of copper."[27]

After agreeing to a revised bid, in May 2006, First Quantum Minerals acquired Adastra Minerals "in a cash-and-shares deal worth about C$275 million (£135 million)."[4] First Quantum said it would like Adastra on the London Stock Exchange. At the time, Adastra was based in London, England and developing mineral assets in Central Africa, particularly mining operations in Zambia, Mauritania and Congo.[3] After the acquisition, First Quantum again had gained control of the Kolwezi mine, committing to invest a new $600 million in the project.[28]

Notable personnel[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "World Bank", Rosie Murray West, The Telegraph (May 9, 2005)
  2. ^ a b c "Adastra rejects First Quantum approach", Mining Journal (January 27, 2006)
  3. ^ a b "First Quantum raises takeover bid for Adastra Minerals", CBC News (March 20, 2006)
  4. ^ a b c d e "Smaller stock to watch", The Times (May 2, 2006)
  5. ^ "The Politics of mining". Finweek. 2 November 2007. ISSN 1812-4658.
  6. ^ Block, Robert (14 April 1997). "Mining Firms Want a Piece Of Zaire's Vast Mineral Wealth". The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on 10 April 2020. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Nabudere, Dani Wadada (2003). "Conflict over mineral wealth: Understanding the second invasion of the DRC". In Naidoo, Sagaren; le Pere, Garth; Lawson, Noelle (eds.). The War Economy in the Democratic Republic of Congo (PDF). Braamfontein: Institute for Global Dialogue. ISBN 1-919697-63-2. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 April 2020. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  8. ^ a b c d Naidoo, Sagaren (2003). "Economic motivation for the DRC conflict by Sagaren Naidoo". The War Economy in the Democratic Republic of Congo (PDF). Braamfontein: Institute for Global Dialogue. ISBN 1-919697-63-2. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 April 2020. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h McNish, Jacquie (1998). The Big Score. Toronto: Doubleday Canada. p. 330. ISBN 0-385-25758-9. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  10. ^ a b c Renton, David; Seddon, David; Zeilig, Leo (2007). The Congo Plunder & Resistance. London: Zed Books. pp. 181–182, 186, 196, 209. ISBN 1-84277-484-0. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  11. ^ Morais, Richard C. (9 August 1998). "Friends in high places". Forbes. 162 (3). Archived from the original on 10 April 2020. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  12. ^ Taylor, Ian (2003). "Conflict in Central Africa: Clandestine Networks & Regional/Global Configurations". Review of African Political Economy. 30 (95): 48. doi:10.1080/03056240308372. ISSN 0305-6244. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  13. ^ Nabudere, Dani Wadada (2003). "Conflict over mineral wealth: Understanding the second invasion of the DRC". In Naidoo, Sagaren; le Pere, Garth; Lawson, Noelle (eds.). The War Economy in the Democratic Republic of Congo (PDF). Braamfontein: Institute for Global Dialogue. ISBN 1-919697-63-2. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 April 2020. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  14. ^ "Mining in Congo: Kolwezi tailings". The Economist. 15 January 1998. Archived from the original on 10 April 2020. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  15. ^ Bodipo-Memba, Alejandro; Block, Robert (9 January 1998). "America Mineral Fields Sues Anglo-American Over Contract". The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on 10 April 2020. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  16. ^ Lokongo, Antoine (June 2001). "Congo: Business as Usual? (New African Market)". New African. No. 397.[dead link]
  17. ^ Ashurst, Mark (6 February 1998). "Congo seeks to boost investor confidence". Financial Times.
  18. ^ Bodipo-Memba, Alejandro; Block, Robert (9 January 1998). "America Mineral Fields Sues Anglo-American Over Contract". The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on 10 April 2020. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  19. ^ "Anglo American, American Mineral End Legal Battle, Plan Joint Venture". The Wall Street Journal. 23 June 1998. Archived from the original on 10 April 2020. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  20. ^ "Anglo American, American Mineral End Legal Battle, Plan Joint Venture". The Wall Street Journal. 23 June 1998. Archived from the original on 10 April 2020. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  21. ^ Bain, Julie (26 September 2003). "Newly listed mine group eyes Africa". Business Day. Archived from the original on 10 April 2020. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  22. ^ "Contract awarded for Kolwezi feasibility study", Mining Weekly (August 20, 2004)
  23. ^ Simpkins, Edward, ed. (8 May 2005). "Market miscellany". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 10 April 2020. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  24. ^ Wong, Craig (4 June 2004). "Adastra Minerals' Board Dismisses First Quantum's Offer". Modern Trader. The Canadian Press. Archived from the original on 10 April 2020. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  25. ^ Matthews, Charlotte (1 September 2005). "Adastra gets jungle fever as Congo plans flower". Business Day. Archived from the original on 10 April 2020. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  26. ^ Wong, Craig (4 June 2004). "Adastra Minerals' Board Dismisses First Quantum's Offer". Modern Trader. The Canadian Press. Archived from the original on 10 April 2020. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  27. ^ Simpkins, Edward, ed. (22 January 2006). "Market miscellany". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 10 April 2020. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  28. ^ McClearn, Matthew (5 June 2012). "How First Quantum settled with ENRC for compensation over Congolese mine". Canadian Business. Vol. 85 no. 10. ISSN 0008-3100. Archived from the original on 10 April 2020. Retrieved 10 April 2020.

External links[edit]