CORRS Chambers Westgarth is advising First Quantum Minerals on its proposed US$340 (AU$372) million acquisition of BHP’s Ravensthorpe Nickel operation in Western Australia.
First Quantum announced it had entered into a binding agreement with BHP Billiton on 8 December.
First Quantum is understood to have won BHP’s auction despite being the lowest of three bids, The Australian reports.
First Quantum’s first bid was compelling due to its financial and operational capability as well as the lack of conditions on its bid, the newspaper reported.
The agreement is subject to relevant approvals from the Australian Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) and the West Australian Minister for Mines and Petroleum. If approved, the acquisition is expected to be finalised during the first quarter of 2010, Corrs said yesterday.
Philip Pascal, chairman and CEO of First Quantum, said the acquisition was a major step in the Canadian company achieving its goal of becoming a globally diversified mining company.
The Ravensthorpe development was completed in 2007 but operations were suspended in January 2009 due to low nickel prices in the aftermath of the GFC.
Corrs’ head of the energy and resources, Adam Handley, said: “We are delighted to have worked with First Quantum on their first Australian project acquisition. The acquisition
will add to First Quantum’s already diversified portfolio of assets and will certainly support First Quantum’s goal of becoming one of the world’s leading nickel producers.
“We are also confident that the investment will generate economic growth opportunities, including job creation, in Western Australia and the Ravensthorpe/Hopetoun region,” Handley said.