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The CEO of Canadian miner Hudbay Minerals said BHP Group’s $39-billion offer for Anglo American has increased the valuation of copper assets and could underscore companies’ willingness to pay a premium to buy existing copper mines.

Hudbay expects to launch a formal sale process for a minority stake in its Arizona Copper World project in the United States later this year after already holding talks with companies.

BHP offered to buy Anglo last week, though Anglo rejected the proposal that would create the world’s biggest copper miner, saying it undervalues the company.

“The deal has increased the valuation of copper assets and highlights that major mining companies believe the price for copper will be significantly higher than current levels and they are willing to pay a premium to acquire existing copper production today,” Hudbay CEO Peter Kukielski told Reuters.

Three-month copper prices on the London Metal Exchange CMCU3 hit a two-year high above $10 200 a metric ton on Tuesday, although have since retreated to $9 750.

Hudbay is currently building Copper World, where it anticipates approximately 92 000 metric tons of average copper production over the first ten years. Total initial cost for Phase 1 is expected to be C$1.3-billion.

Kukielski said Hudbay will launch the process to bring in joint-venture partners after receiving permits.

“There will continue to be strong interest from potential joint venture partners as many industry participants are focused on increasing exposure to copper,” he said.

Canada’s copper miners are seen by analysts as potential acquisition targets for large mining groups with a shortage of new copper mines and demand for the metal in electrification.

Toronto-based Hudbay has been one of the few Canadian miners active in domestic acquisition, buying Vancouver based Copper Mountain last year for C$439-million. RBC Capital Markets last year marked Hudbay as a potential acquisition target itself if the copper prices fell.

“I am never worried about Hudbay being a takeout target as our primary focus is to continue delivering on our plan to create shareholder value,” said Kukielski.