Thunder Bay

Australian mining giants ramp up Ring of Fire takeover

Two Australian mining giants are doing their best to convince investors they have a superior deal, to takeover Noront Resources and its properties in the Ring of Fire.

Both companies looking to buy out Noront Resources

Two Australian mining giants, BHP and Wyloo Metals, are both looking to takeover Noront Resources and its properties in the Ring of Fire in northern Ontario. (Jeff Walters/CBC)

Two Australian mining giants are doing their best to convince investors they have the superior deal, to takeover Noront Resources and its properties in the Ring of Fire.

The mining area, about 500 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay, Ont. has chromite, nickel and copper deposits. The two Australian companies, BHP and Wyloo Metals have been engaged in a battle to have the mineral rights in the remote mining area, to which one analyst compares to the long producing Sudbury basin.

"They came up here and said, 'Oh my god, this is amazing geology,'" said Stan Sudol, a mining columnist and owner of republicofmining.com

"The price of these juniors or the price to acquire this ground is so low, and they are, like Canadians, they're miners to the world, so they snapped up a lot of properties," Sudol said.

"The demand for base metals, especially nickel and copper, which you use a lot more of when you build electric vehicles compared to gas-powered vehicles, they just jumped at the opportunity to pick up really promising deposits."

Sudol said both companies are billion-dollar companies, with billion-dollar treasuries and have the resources to continue with exploration and mine building.

He said both companies also understand the need to consult and work with Indigenous communities, which have raised concerns in the past over development in the region. Marten Falls and Webequie First Nations are currently involved in an environmental assessment for the creation of an all-season road to service those communities, as well as the Ring of Fire.

Sudol said the attention the area is receiving is not unlike what the Ring of Fire was attracting a decade or so ago.

"Money talks. Noront, unfortunately, was running out of money, it was a junior mining company. They weren't able to do as much exploration as they would have wanted," Sudol said, who noted that Noront consolidated most of the mining claims in the area under one company.

"Because you have two multi-billion-dollar Australian corporations, both the federal and provincial governments need to take note."

"It isn't PR, it really is an extraordinary mining camp."

Sudol said Ontario will be in a good position, when automakers that require batteries for electric vehicles, will be looking for places to build battery factories and assembly lines.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the latest offer for Noront was tabled by BHP, offering $0.75 per Noront share, a 36 per cent premium of its previous offer. It's five cents higher than an offer made by Wyloo Metals on Monday. The offer expires on November 9.

Both Wyloo and BHP have both been considered as a "superior offer" by Noront at different times. 

Noront stock closed on Wednesday afternoon at $0.82 per share on the TSX Venture Exchange.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeff Walters

Reporter/Editor

Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Jeff is proud to work in his hometown, as well as throughout northwestern Ontario. Away from work, you can find him skiing (on water or snow), curling, out at the lake or flying.

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