THUNDER BAY — There's a new bidder for Noront Resources, the owner of the Eagle's Nest nickel and copper deposit in the Ring of Fire mineral zone in Northwestern Ontario.
Australia-based BHP is offering C$325 million for all of Noront's issued and outstanding shares, trumping a bid by another Australian firm, Wyloo Metals, to increase its current 24 per cent stake in the company.
The growing interest in the Noront property is seen as reflecting the competition to nail down sources of battery metals due to the increasing use of electric vehicles.
Noront's board of directors is recommending the BHP offer, which represents a premium of 129 per cent to Noront's closing price on May 21, 2021 – when Wyloo announced its planned offer for Noront – and a 69 per cent premium to Noront's closing price on Monday.
CEO Alan Coutts said "This transaction provides a significant premium to Wyloo's indicative offer...BHP has the financial strength, world-class mining expertise, and commitment to work in partnership with stakeholders to advance Eagle's Nest and the Ring of Fire, which has the potential to deliver benefits to local communities First Nations, and Ontario for years to come."
BHP Chief Development Officer Johan van Jaarsveld said the company is excited to bring its expertise to develop what he referred to as "these long-term opportunities."
He added "We look forward to working in constructive partnerships with First Nations peoples, government and communities to realize the untapped potential of these important resources."
Noront's most recent targeted start for commercial production at Eagle's Nest is 2026.