Russian billionaire buys Canadian miner

Canadian copper miner Mercator Minerals' (TSE:ML) share price doubled on Thursday, trading at 9 cents per share, after news emerged that a Russian billionaire had bought the company.

Mikhail Prokhorov acquired Mercator through a friendly merger with his company Intergeo MMC. Prokhorov's ONEXIM Group, which controls Intergeo, announced that it would make a $100 million investment in the new merger which will form a new independent copper-focused mining company.

Combined, their assets include Intergeo's Ak-Sug copper deposit in Russia, Mercator's MIneral Park Mine in the US and El Pilar copper project in Mexico.

Intergeo's shareholders will own about 85% of the new entity called Intergeo Mining Ltd., and Mercator shareholders the remainder.

“We are very excited about the potential of Intergeo Mining," Dmitry Razumov CEO of ONEXIM noted in a statement. "The combined company will be led by a team of professionals with unique experience in managing metals and mining companies internationally. It will also benefit from its access to public capital markets to develop its attractive projects, including bringing the Ak-Sug deposit to production.”

The merger news does not come as a surprise; Intergeo has been looking for a Canadian company for several years now, according to the Financial Post.

Porkhorov's other assets include a a 21% stake in Russian potash producer Uralkali and the Brooklyn Nets basketball team. His fortune is estimated at $13 billion and he ran against Vladimir Putin in the 2012 presidential election.