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Noront still sides with BHP's deal to acquire Ring of Fire deposits

Mine developer calls Wyloo statements "misleading" to shareholders, BHP offer provides better value
Noront camp
Noront Resources' Esker Camp in the James Bay lowlands

Ring of Fire mine developer Noront Resources remains firm on favouring a $325-million deal by international miner BHP to buy their nickel, copper, palladium assets in the Far North.

Noront, the subject of an inside takeover attempt by its largest shareholder, Wyloo Metals, fired back at the Australian mining company for several "misleading statements" made this week stemming from a new bid by BHP to acquire them.

In late July, BHP Lonsdale, made an offer to acquire Noront for $325 million, at $0.55 cents a share, beating out Wyloo's announced offer from May of $133 million, at $0.315 per share.

Noront claims Wyloo hasn't made a formal offer to acquire them, only announced an intention to do so.

Wyloo is Noront's biggest shareholder at 24 per cent and said it intends to increase that to 37 per cent shortly by converting a loan into common shares of Noront.

BHP, through a subsidiary company, owns 3.7 per cent of Noront.

In an Aug. 20 news release, Noront reiterated an earlier recommendation by its board of directors that Noront shareholders to accept the BHP offer, deeming it "fair, from a financial point of view" and to "tender their Noront shares as soon as possible."

Noront's highly-prized claims in the remote James Bay region includes the high-grade Eagle’s Nest nickel, copper, platinum and palladium deposit and a string of high-grade chromite deposits in the Far North mineral belt called the Ring of Fire, 500 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay.

This week, Wyloo made the claim that that Noront has denied them access to due diligence information in order to made a better offer to shareholders than BHP's.

Noront responded that on transactions of this nature, it's customary for interested parties to enter into a confidentiality agreement before Noront provides any due diligence information. 

BHP has agreed to this, Noront said, but Wyloo "declined to do so."

Contrary to Wyloo's assertions, Noront further said Wyloo's support is "not required" for this transaction for BHP's offer "to be successful."

"The minimum tender condition for the offer is that more than 50 per cent of the shares not owned by BHP be tendered to the (BHP) offer, and this condition can be satisfied regardless of whether Wyloo tenders its Noront shares to the offer."