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Classic takeover battle as Brazil and China giants vie for African miner

The stock of cobalt and copper miner Metorex is up by a third this year following Brazilian giant Vale’s $1.1bn bid for the mid-tier producer. With reports surfacing that Jinchuan, China’s biggest nickel miner, is readying a competing offer shareholders of the Johannesburg-based company look set to extract further value ahead of a vote on July 22.

Metorex has aggressive expansion plans for its central and Southern African projects and aims to more than double its current annual copper output of around 50,000 tonnes. It’s a far cry from the situation in 2009 when the company was fighting for survival amid serious cost overruns in the Congo.

BusinessDay reports:

Jinchuan chairman Yang Zhiqiang said in a March 7 interview the company was looking to buy stakes in overseas copper mines. Jinchuan, based in Gansu province, took over Wesizwe Platinum , a Johannesburg-based platinum explorer listed on the city’s stock exchange, earlier this year.

Miningmx reports:

The latest Metorex annual review – which covers the 18 months to end-December 2010 following a change to its financial year-end – is already out of date due to the pace of developments this year. But one comment from chairperson Rob Still continues to ring true: “What a difference 18 months has made.” reported earlier in June on Vale’s African expansion plans:

Brazilian miner Vale SA plans to spend over $12 billion on investments in Africa over the next five years. Brazilian companies, like their Chinese counterparts, are keen on African resources to fuel their growth and the sum involved underscores the continent’s growing importance as an investment destination.

Map of Metorex projects is courtesy of the company.