A bidding war for a small Canadian nickel miner is showing no signs of cooling as its largest shareholder, Australian mining magnate Andrew Forrest, took a formal step to increase ownership.
Forrest’s Wyloo Metals said it notified Noront Resources to swap its $15-million convertible loan for common shares of Noront. That will increase Wyloo’s equity ownership to about 37.3% from 24.2%, according to a statement Wednesday.
Wyloo has offered to buy Noront for C$0.70 a share, beating the C$0.55 offer made by BHP Group in July that Noront’s board agreed to support. Wyloo said last month its proposal is more likely to succeed because it owns a chunk of Noront’s shares and doesn’t intend to support BHP’s offer.
Mining heavyweight are racing to control more supplies of raw materials that are key to the transition to low-carbon energy sources. Noront has been developing one of Canada’s largest potential mineral reserves, in a largely untapped northern Ontario region dubbed the Ring of Fire. Nickel is one of the key metals used in batteries for electric vehicles.