Mining and Heavy Industries

BHP, Newcrest fighting over piece of copper junior

A number of major mining companies are said to be in the hunt for a piece of Brisbane-based explorer business Solgold, as well as the exciting Ecuadorian copper deposit it is sitting on.

Solgold has an 85% interest in the Cascabel copper-gold deposit in Ecaudor, one of the most exciting deposits currently under exploration anywhere on the planet.

The potential gold mine (literally and figuratively) has attracted a huge amount of interest in recent weeks.

BHP Billiton on Monday lobbed a $30 million bid to buy 10% of Solgold, which values the business at 22c a share. The mega-miner also offered to buy 70% of the Cascabel deposit for US$275 million.

The offers came just days before Solgold shareholders were set to vote on a US$33 million offer from another miner, Newcrest, along with investment firm Maxit, also for 10% of the business.

And Solgold’s Australian chairman Nicholas Mather reportedly told Fairfax that BHP and Newcrest are not the only global miners to look at Cascabel.

“They are not the only ones,” he was quoted as saying by the Australian Financial Review. “The realisation that Ecuador is highly mineralised and has a permissive approach from the government is taking the blinkers off the world’s majors who are all copper hungry, and that is why we are getting the attention we are getting.”

The Solgold board told shareholders on Monday it felt the BHP offer was not superior to the one on the table from Newcrest.

Shareholders will meet on Thursday, October 13 to discuss.

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