PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Diversified miner Xstrata is one step closer to buying Australian junior Sphere Minerals after a key condition to the A$428-million takeover has been met.
Xstrata told shareholders on Tuesday that the Mauritanian Ministry of Mines and Industry had declared the validity of the El Aouj mining licence, thereby fulfilling a defeating condition in the takeover.
Through its wholly owned subsidiary Sidero, Xstrata made a cash offer of A$2,50 for every Sphere share held.
Sidero holds 6,95% of the issued share capital of Sphere.
Meanwhile, the miner has also extended its offer period for the deal to October 19, from October 5. Xstrata did not increase the offer.
Sphere has three iron-ore projects in Mauritania, including the large-scale Guelb el Aouj project, held through a joint venture with the country’s State-owned iron-ore company, as well as the near-term Askaf project.
Xstrata Coal CEO Peter Freyberg said at the time of the offer that the diversified miner had the financial and technical capabilities to expedite the development of the greenfield growth projects and manage the inherent risk involved.
The acquisition of Sphere would add a range of organic growth projects in iron-ore to