First Quantum asks Inmet shareholders to tender before deadline

In a last-minute plea to Inmet Mining Corp.'s (TSX:IMN) shareholders, Vancouver-based First Quantum Minerals (TSX:FM)(LON:FQM) has urged them to tender their shares to a $5.1 billion takeover offer, promising to bring greater value to the giant Cobre Panama copper project in Central America.

The takeover bid, launched in December, turned hostile in early January when First Quantum took it to Inmet’s shareholders.

The cash-and-stock offer for Inmet expires late Monday night , unless extended.

“By tendering today, as First Quantum shareholders you will have immediate exposure to the Company’s strengths and renowned project capabilities on Cobre Panama, a project at a critical juncture of its development in a challenging environment,” the miner said in a statement.

First Quantum’s CEO, Philip Pascall, said that Inmet’s largest shareholder (Leucadia National Corp.) has already tendered its shares. He added he is eager to complete the takeover soon in order to “exploit First Quantum’s strengths and capabilities” on Inmet’s Cobre Panama project.

“Our vision of the two companies combined is that a major geographically diversified copper company will be created,” Pascall said.

First Quantum received Investment Canada Act approval for its $5.1-billion offer last Friday, removing the last regulatory hurdle. The company has made no effort to increase its bid, leaving it up to Inmet’s shareholders to decide whether to support it.

If successful, the deal will be the biggest hostile mining bid since BHP Billiton (ASX, NYSE:BHP) withdrew a $40 billion offer for Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan (TSX, NYSE:POT) in 2010.

Once in operations, Cobre will become the largest mining project ever undertaken in Central America.

Image by Karen Roach/Shutterstock.com