Cliffs completes Freewest acquisition

27th January 2010 By: Liezel Hill

TORONTO ( – US-based Clifs Natural Resources has completed its acquisition of junior Freewest Resources Canada, the companies announced.

The transaction, in which Cliffs paid 0,02016 of its shares for each Freewest share, was approved on Monday by Freewest shareholders and the Ontario Superior Court of Justice gave its final order of approval on Tuesday.

Freewest shares will likely be delisted from the TSX Venture Exchange later this week, the companies said.

Freewest's main assets are large chromite deposits that it has discovered in the Ring of Fire district in the James Bay Lowlands of Ontario, Canada.

It owns the Black Thor and Black Label projects, as well as 50% in the adjacent Big Daddy joint venture.

The company was the subject of a hostile bid last year from fellow Ring of Fire explorer Noront Resources, but Cliffs stepped in as a white knight after Noront's initial unsolicited offer was announced in October.

Noront raised its offer once, in an attempt to woo shareholders away from the Cliffs deal, but Cliffs increased the price of its offer twice, eventually to the share equivalent of C$1,00 a share

Noront announced on December 14 it would not extend the deadline for its offer, after just 4,5% of Freewest's shares were tendered by the expiry date.

Cliffs, which mines iron-ore and coal, has said it plans to start producing ferrochrome from the Ring of Fire deposits by 2015.

It will build chromite mines and electric arc furnace smelter facilities producing between 400 000 t/y and 800 000 t/y of ferrochrome, CEO Joseph Carrabba said in November.