Mining magnate parrying BHP bid expands stake in nickel miner

Noront Resources Esker camp. (Credit: Noront)

A bidding war for a small Canadian nickel miner is showing no signs of cooling as its largest shareholder, Australian mining magnate Andrew Forrest, took a formal step to increase ownership.

Forrest’s Wyloo Metals Pty Ltd. said it notified Noront Resources Ltd. to swap its $15 million convertible loan for common shares of Noront. That will increase Wyloo’s equity ownership to about 37.3% from 24.2%, according to a statement Wednesday.

Wyloo has offered to buy Noront for C$0.70 per share, beating the C$0.55 offer made by BHP Group in July that Noront’s board agreed to support. Wyloo said last month its proposal is more likely to succeed because it owns a chunk of Noront’s shares and doesn’t intend to support BHP’s offer.

Mining heavyweight are racing to control more supplies of raw materials that are key to the transition to low-carbon energy sources. Noront has been developing one of Canada’s largest potential mineral reserves, in a largely untapped northern Ontario region dubbed the Ring of Fire.

Nickel is one of the key metals used in batteries for electric vehicles.

(By Yvonne Yue Li)


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