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BHP continues talks with Wyloo on acquiring Noront's Ring of Fire assets

Melbourne miner extending bid offer to mid-December
James Bay Lowlands (Noront Resources photo)
James Bay lowlands (Noront Resources photo)

BHP, the world's largest mining company, said it needs more time to reach an agreement with rival Wyloo Metals on taking over Noront Resources and its Ring of Fire mineral assets in Ontario's Far North.

In a news release, BHP said it continues to have discussions with Wyloo Metals, Noront's largest shareholder at 37 per cent, regarding its potential support of BHP's C$0.75 per share offer to acquire Noront.

Noront is siding with the BHP bid.

To allow more time for these talks to progress, BHP is extending the expiry of its offer from Nov. 30 to Dec. 14. The earliest time BHP will be taking up Noront shares under its offer will be at the new expiry time of 7 p.m. EST.

The two competing Australian mining interests were engaged in a bidding war this past summer and fall to acquire the Toronto junior miner and its flagship Eagle's Nest Project. The remote, but mine-ready, nickel, copper and platinum group metals discovery, is 500 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay in the James Bay region.

Wyloo is a subsidiary company of Tattarang, Australia's largest investment fund, headed by mining magnate Andrew Forrest. Wyloo bought into Noront last December as its largest shareholder and seeks to acquire all of the Noront common shares that it does not currently own.

The proposed acquisition of Noront by BHP is being done through a subsidiary company, BHP Lonsdale Investment.

Both BHP and Wyloo want to gain access to the untapped and much-prized supply of critical metals in the James Bay area, which are used to make batteries used in the electrical vehicle industry.

Perth-based Wyloo holds no interest in any mineral assets outside of Australia.

Melbourne-headquartered BHP is the world's largest miner with operations and 80,000 employees in its home country of Australia, Chile, the United States and Canada. Its head office for potash is in Saskatoon and its metals exploration office recently moved to Toronto.