In Zambia, Africa’s largest copper producer, Trafigura has struck deals to buy between 20% and 25% of copper produced in the country direct from the mines through its subsidiary Trafigura Beheer BV.
Zambia will produce about 700,000 tonnes of copper in 2010 and 1 million tonnes in 2011.
The commodities trader will buy copper from all the mines in Zambia except Mopani Copper Mines, which is 73%-owned by Glencore International, according to Trafigura chief financial officer Pierre Lorinet.
Trafigura is comparable in size to Glencore International, but senior management shy away from admitting that its interests in Zambia and DRC are placing it in direct competition with its rival.
Market participants with direct experience of the DRC say the two companies are locked in a bitter struggle there.
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