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‘Mick the Miner’ goes after Vale’s nickel assets

‘Mick the Miner’ goes after Vale's nickel assets

This is not the first time Mick Davis has tried to buy assets from one of the world’s top miners. BHP and Anglo American are some of the big names on its past attempts list.

Former Xstrata boss Mick Davis is mulling a bid for the nickel business of Brazil’s Vale (NYSE:VALE), the world’s No.1 producer of the metal, in an ongoing effort to turn his investment vehicle X2 Resources into a midsize metal and mining group.

“Mick The Miner”, as he is also known in the industry, built Xstrata into one of the world’s biggest mining firms and has been staging a comeback ever since he sold the company to Glencore for $27 billion in 2013.

By September of the same year, he established X2 Resources, which has already raised almost $5 billion from a number of private investors. However his war chest has yet to be put to use.

Now, Bloomberg reports that the mining veteran is considering bidding for the nickel business of Vale, which it is valued at between $5 billion and $7billion.

Third time’s the charm?

This is not the first time Davis has tried to buy assets from one of the world’s top miners. The entrepreneur is said to have already tried (and failed) to pick up BHP’s unloved assets that will go in the split. He is also said to have approached Anglo American in November, trying to grab some of company’s assets including copper mines in Chile, Brazilian nickel mines and a few coal operations.

The 56-year-old South African and the rest of the team behind X2, which also involves former Xstrata finance director Trevor Reid, believe the firm could profit from picking up assets other mining companies, under financial strain of getting funds for ongoing projects, are forced to sell at very low price.

Davis is only one of the many former chiefs of mining companies who have recently launched investment vehicles.

Ex-Barrick Gold (TSX, NYSE: ABX) boss, Aaron Regent, is another one who has grab headlines this month as earlier this month he struck his first deal, spending $500 million in a niobium mine and rare earth deposit from Canadian miner Iamgold Corp. (TSX: IMG) (NYSE:IAG).