Norton Gold Fields receives A$212 million offer from Zijin Mining Group

The board of Norton Gold Fields (ASX:NGF) recommends that shareholders accept a A$212 million cash takeover from one of China's largest gold producers, Zijin Mining Group.

Norton is a mid-tier Australian gold miner with 150,000 oz of annual production. Zijin is a Shanghai and Hong Kong listed public company with a $12 billion market capitalization and operations across a broad range of commodities, including gold, copper, zinc, lead, tungsten and iron ore.

Zijin currently owns about 16.8% of Norton shares. Zijin will pay 25 cents Australian for every Norton share. In addition, Norton shareholders will receive two cents per share special dividend. 

Norton says Zijin's offer represents a premium of 45.9% to the closing price of Norton shares March 29.

The deal is subject to approval by the Foreign Investment Review Board and Chinese regulatory approvals.

The deal is also contingent on spot gold prices not falling below A$1,400 per ounce throughout any 72 hour period of gold trading during the six month period following the date of this announcement.

Norton employs 414 workers and holds mining and exploration leases in Western Australia’s Goldfields region. The Company’s flagship Paddington Operations has defined a Mineral Resource of 5.96Moz, of which more than 1.00Moz is classified as Proven and Probable Ore Reserves. Its targeted cash cost in 2012 is A$970/oz.

Norton's major shareholders are Gold Max Asia Investments (11.1%); China Precious Metals Resources Holdings Co., Ltd (10.1%); Sprott Asset Management LP (6.0%); and Baker Steel Capital Managers LLP (5.4%).

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