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Copper player changes hands

Sierra Gorda, copper, aurora, critical mineral

Private equity firm Resource Capital Funds will sell Ausenco, an engineering company which had a hand in several major copper projects, to three key US investment firms.

The three firms – Eldridge, Brightstar Capital Partners, and Claure Group – will acquire Ausenco for approximately $US578 million ($900 million).

RCF first acquired Ausenco in 2016 for $153.7 million, at which time it delisted Ausenco from the ASX.

According to RCF, Ausenco has focused on delivering copper for the energy transition and constructing four major copper concentrators while under RCF ’s ownership.

“These include Carrapateena, representing one of the largest copper reserves in Australia, Constancia and Mina Justa in Peru and Mantoverde in Chile, still under construction, for a combined annual copper capacity of more than 400,000 tonnes,” the firm said.

“In addition to copper, Ausenco has grown capabilities in sustainability, lithium and operational performance. Ausenco now has more than 3000 employees, up almost 1600 employees since RCF privatised the business in 2016.”

The transaction is expected to close in late 2023, subject to satisfaction of customary closing conditions.

“We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the Ausenco team, whose dedication and unwavering commitment have been the driving force behind its success during our ownership… This is a fantastic outcome for all parties involved, and we wish Ausenco continued success,” Resource Capital Funds managing partner James McClements said.

RCF head of private equity Martin Valdes said this transaction is a “natural step” that will mark “the next chapter in Ausenco’s journey”.

“The decision to sell Ausenco was made after careful consideration, with the belief that this transition will allow the company to further expand its reach and make an even greater impact in the growing engineering sector,” he said.

“Our relationship will continue as like-minded collaborators to deliver the necessary commodities to support the energy transition.”

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