Why South32 wants niobium

Rumours suggest embattled miner South32 is looking to Anglo American's crumbling empire for a big acquisition. Is this a good idea?

Anglo American (LSE:AAL) was, for a time, the largest miner in the world. Today, as it struggles under mountainous debt and lower revenue, it is shedding a phenomenal 85,000 jobs and selling more than half its assets. For many miners, this is an ominous sign. If the once mighty Anglo can fall, anyone can. For others, there is a sniff of opportunity.

Among the array of mines being disposed is Anglo’s little known niobium mine in Brazil. South32 (ASX:S32) is rumored to be interested in the asset which could fetch a price of about US$1bn, or about a fifth of South32’s market capitalization.

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