LUSAKA- Zambia's government has shortlisted companies that have submitted binding offers for Mopani Copper Mines and is "looking at 31st July to pick the winner," Mines Minister Paul Kabuswe told a news conference on Friday.

Sources told Reuters last month that China's Zijin Mining and Norinco Group, South Africa's Sibanye Stillwater and an investment vehicle owned by ex-Glencore officials had been shortlisted in the race to buy Mopani.

Switzerland-based commodities giant Glencore sold a 73% stake in Mopani to Zambian state firm ZCCM-IH in 2021 for $1.5 billion in a deal funded by debt, but it retained offtake rights of Mopani's copper production until the debt had been repaid.

(Reporting by Chris Mfula Additional reporting by Felix Njini Editing by Alexander Winning)