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Eyes on BHP in Noront bidding war

·2 min read

A prolonged bidding war among two familiar mining-industry heavyweights for control of potential mineral deposits in the remote Ring of Fire may come to an end later this week.

Australian mining multinational BHP Western Mining Resources International (BHP) has just a few more days to trump the latest offer by a competitor to take control of Toronto-based Ring of Fire proponent Noront Resources.

On Monday, Noront declared that an improved offer from Wyloo Metals of 70 cents per share “constitutes a superior proposal as compared to the outstanding BHP offer.”

“Based on an evaluation by (a special committee) and its advisers, the Noront board of directors has determined that Wyloo Metals’ proposal represents superior value for our shareholders,” Noront CEO Alan Coutts said in a news release.

“There is no (immediate) action for Noront shareholders to take,” the release added.

“If Noront enters into an arrangement agreement with Wyloo Metals, additional information will be provided to Noront shareholders in advance of a special meeting of shareholders to vote on the plan of arrangement,” the release said.

BHP had earlier offered 55 cents per share for Noront. In an operational update Monday afternoon, BHP said “our support agreement with Noront Resources to make an all-cash takeover offer remains in place.”

It added: “Noront owns an extensive land package that includes the Eagle’s Nest nickel and copper deposit in the James Bay Lowlands, in an emerging metals area known as the Ring of Fire.”

Wyloo Metals, also headquartered in Australia, currently owns just over 37 per cent of Noront’s common shares, according to a Noront corporate backgrounder.

The Ring of Fire, which also holds potential deposits of chromite, a key ingredient in stainless steel, is located about 550 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay.

Noront has long maintained that no mine development can take place without the establishment of all-weather roads into the remote region.

The Webequie and Marten Falls First Nations are currently overseeing environmental reviews into potential east-west and north-south routes into the Ring of Fire.

Carl Clutchey, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chronicle-Journal

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