GFG to spend up to A$100m on Australian copper, iron ore developer

Privately held industrial conglomerate GFG Alliance said on Wednesday it would spend up to A$100 million ($70.5 million) to get a controlling interest in a copper and iron ore developer to provide materials for its Australian copper and steel business.

GFG is building up a South Australian franchise to its global steel and energy business after its purchase of the Whyalla Steelworks and an energy company in 2017. It is also considering building a copper smelter.

Havilah Resources has iron ore assets and a copper project in South Australia. GFG's purchase of Havilah would see staged funding over three years for an up to 51-percent equity stake and is reliant on certain milestones being met, according to statements by GFG and Havilah on Wednesday.

The deal would also require approval from Havilah shareholders. Havilah shares were up 45 percent to $A0.23 by the close of trade on Wednesday.

As part of the deal, GFG will have first right of refusal in relation to any iron ore or copper concentrate supply produced by the mineral resource developer.

GFG has spent billions in recent years buying troubled steel and aluminium plants and investing in renewable energy assets around the world, raising questions over funding for its rapid expansion.

The company said late last year it plans to list up to 40 percent of its manufacturing, distribution and recycling business in Australia in 2019.

GFG is planning to integrate most of its mining and engineering businesses under its Liberty House unit into a single global steel business with assets across the UK, Europe and Australia, it said earlier this month.

($1 = 1.4178 Australian dollars)

(By Melanie Burton; Editing by Tom Hogue)