BHP Ups Stakes in Battle With Billionaire for Nickel Miner

(Bloomberg) — BHP Group, the world’s biggest mining company, has raised its offer for Noront Resources Ltd., trumping a bid from iron ore billionaire Andrew Forrest and securing the support of the Canadian nickel miner’s board.

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The Melbourne-based company increased its bid by 36% to C$0.75 per share, above the C$0.70 offered by Forrest’s Wyloo Metals Pty Ltd.

BHP said the offer, which is open to shareholders until Nov. 9, doesn’t require the support of Wyloo to proceed, even though that company holds about 37% of Noront stock.

Wyloo and BHP have been in a bidding war to gain access to Noront’s high-grade Canadian nickel deposits in a largely untapped region of northern Ontario dubbed the Ring of Fire. Mining heavyweights are racing to control more supplies of raw materials that are key to transitioning to low-carbon energy sources. Nickel is one of the key metals used in lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles.

“Noront and BHP believe that the offer provides Noront shareholders with the value inherent in Noront’s portfolio of projects without the long-term risks associated with the development and execution of those projects,” BHP said in a media statement.

Noront shares rose 3.9% to C$0.81 a 9:43 a.m. trading in Toronto, the biggest jump since Sept. 10. Shares of BHP fell 1.1% in London.

(Adds shares of Noront and BHP in last paragraph.)

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By Matt Earle

Matthew Earle is the Founder of MiningFeeds. In 2005, Matt founded MiningNerds.com to provide data and information to the mining investment community. This site was merged with Highgrade Review to form MiningFeeds. Matt has a B.Sc. degree with a minor in geology from the University of Toronto.

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