Ring of Fire Updates Weekly News Roundup

October 20-26, 2021 : Weekly News Roundup

On October 18th, after weeks of stating clearly that it supported BHP’s takeover offer, Noront Resources changed its tune. Wyloo Metals tabled an even higher offer, and Noront bit. BHP was given 5 days to match the bid increase.

Just a day later, BHP upped its bid and Noront returned to its original position, recommending that shareholders back BHP. Shareholders of Noront Resources now have three weeks to decide if they will accept BHP’s offer.

In the flurry of news about this prolonged bidding war between two Australian mining giants, a few articles were published reminding readers not to get too distracted: there are still a number of looming unanswered questions about the future of these mining projects. Why isn’t Canada taking the preservation of its peatlands, proliferous in the Ring of Fire and essential to combating natural disasters and climate change, more seriously? Will the Ring of Fire mines even reach production, given opposition from First Nations and billions of dollars in investment needed? What about the smelter proposed in Sault Ste. Marie, which has also faced local opposition?

These questions require answers, and will not be solved by simply changing company hands. Hopefully we will have an answer soon about which corporation we should be asking.

October 18, 2021 (Globe and Mail):

Ring of Fire operator Noront warms to Wyloo takeover bid, but BHP looms

Unfortunately this article is behind a paywall. If you have a Globe and Mail subscription, you can read it here.

October 18, 2021 (Northern Ontario Business):

Wyloo Metals has inside track to acquire Ring of Fire’s Noront Resources

Australian mine developer ‘tables’ superior proposal, BHP given five days to match

“Wyloo Metals has tabled a “superior” offer over BHP’s in the bidding war to acquire Ring of Fire junior miner Noront Resources. Wyloo, a Western Australian-based mine developer, announced it has reached an agreement with the Toronto company to acquire its nickel, copper, platinum group metals and chromite assets in the James Bay region. In an Oct. 18 news release, Noront’s board of directors unanimously determined Wyloo’s latest offer $0.70 per share to be a “superior proposal” to the $0.55 per share offer made by BHP through a subsidiary company.” Read more here…

October 18, 2021 (BNN Bloomberg):

Wyloo wins Noront’s support in latest Ring of Fire takeover twist

“Noront Resources Ltd., a company with numerous metals deposits in Ontario’s northern Ring of Fire region, announced on Monday that its board of directors has thrown its support behind a sweetened offer from Wyloo Metals Pty Ltd. of Australia – and that puts the ball back in the court of mining goliath BHP Group Ltd. Wyloo is now willing to pay $0.70 in cash per share for Noront, which puts a value of $324 million on the company.  That’s more than the $0.55 that BHP offered – and Noront accepted –in July. It was Wyloo that kicked off the fight for Noront, when it offered $0.315 per share for Noront in May. That valued Noront at just $133 million.” Read more here…

October 18, 2021 (Bloomberg):

Mining magnate beats BHP on ‘superior’ offer for Canadian nickel miner

“Canadian miner Noront Resources Ltd. agreed to be acquired by Andrew Forrest’s Wyloo Metals Pty Ltd. in a deal that tops a rival offer from BHP Group. Noront agreed to Wyloo’s “superior” offer of C$0.70 a share, which represents a 27% premium to BHP’s friendly offer of C$0.55 from July, the Toronto-based company said Monday in a statement. BHP has been given five business days to match the offer from the firm controlled by Forrest, an Australian mining magnate.” Read more here…

October 18, 2021 (The Narwhal):

Peatlands can fight natural disasters and the climate crisis. Canada needs to stop taking them for granted.

Canada has more pristine peatland than any other country but it far behind the rest of the world in protecting and restoring these valuable ecosystems.

“Canada, endowed with more pristine peatland than any other country, has a unique opportunity to preserve, and in some cases restore these ecosystems, found on the tundra, in temperate and boreal forests, in the Rockies and the Great Lakes region such as Georgian Bay. Not only do they play an oversized role in managing climate change, regulating water and protecting critically endangered species such as caribou and whooping cranes, they offer denning sites for polar bears, turtles and Massasauga rattlesnakes. They also nurture many of the 546 plants that Indigenous people use for medicine.” Read more here…

October 19, 2021 (The Market Herald):

Update: BHP trumps Andrew Forrest’s offer for Canadian nickel miner Noront

“BHP has increased its bid for Canadian-listed nickel miner Noront Resources, extending the bidding war between the former and Andrew Forrest’s Wyloo Metals. Yesterday, Noront Resources agreed to be acquired by Tattarang’s Wyloo Metals in a transaction that trumped rival BHP Group. Under the deal, Wyloo Metals would acquire all the common shares of Noront that the company does not currently own for C$0.70 in cash, pursuant to a statutory plan of arrangement. BHP Lonsdale Investments responded a day later, upping their bid to C$0.75 per share.” Read more here…

October 19, 2021 (Regina Leader-Post):

BHP increases all-cash offer for Noront to C$0.75 per share

Noront recommends shareholders accept improved BHP offer

“BHP Lonsdale Investments Pty Ltd (“BHP Lonsdale”), a wholly owned subsidiary of BHP, and Noront Resources Ltd. (TSXV: NOT) (“Noront”) announced today that BHP has agreed to increase its all-cash offer for Noront shares to C$0.75 per share (the “Offer”). The Noront Board, considering the superior C$0.75 per share cash purchase price in the amended Offer, has determined that the proposal from Wyloo Metals Pty Ltd. (“Wyloo”), at a price of C$0.70 per share, has ceased to be a “superior proposal”, and recommends the Noront shareholders tender their shares to the BHP Offer.” Read more here…

October 20, 2021 (Financial Post):

Even amid bidding war for Noront, challenges encircle Ring of Fire mining project

A climate change fight may be brewing in the Ring of Fire

“Australia’s BHP Group Ltd, one of the world’s largest miners, on Wednesday offered 75 cents in cash for each share of Toronto’s Noront Resources Ltd., as a bidding war erupts for control of the mineral claims on land around northern Ontario’s remote James Bay lowlands, colloquially known as the Ring of Fire. That offer beats a bid of 70 cents per share that Wyloo Metals Ltd, backed by Australian billionaire Andrew Forrest, placed on Monday. Even as BHP offers $419 million in cash for Noront — and Wyloo could still raise its own offer before  Nov. 9 when shareholders must vote on which proposal to accept — a larger question looms about whether its projects in the Ring of Fire would ever be developed into mines.” Read more here…

October 20, 2021 (CBC):

Latest takeover offer for Noront Resources could mean end of ‘bidding war’

Australian companies Wyloo Metals, BHP have put in offers on the Ring of Fire region this week

“Wyloo’s latest offer is for 70 cents per share. On Wednesday, BHP put an offer in of 75 cents a share. “It’s very significant,” said mining columnist Stan Sudol, who has been watching the bidding war unfold. Sudol said the “most interesting part” of Wyloo’s announcement on Monday is that BHP was given just five business days to respond with a matching offer, which it did. Sudol said he’s been told the five day window is fairly standard. “So we’re finally coming to the end of this bidding war, or we’re hoping we do,” Sudol said.” Read more here…

October 20, 2021 (Yahoo! Finance):

BHP ups stakes in battle with billionaire for nickel miner

“BHP Group, the world’s biggest mining company, has raised its offer for Noront Resources Ltd., trumping a bid from iron ore billionaire Andrew Forrest and securing the support of the Canadian nickel miner’s board. The Melbourne-based company increased its bid by 36% to C$0.75 per share, above the C$0.70 offered by Forrest’s Wyloo Metals Pty Ltd. BHP said the offer, which is open to shareholders until Nov. 9, doesn’t require the support of Wyloo to proceed, even though that company holds about 37% of Noront stock.” Read more here…

October 20, 2021 (Proactive Investors):

BHP ups cash offer for Noront Resources, trumping bid from Wyloo Metals and winning support from Noront

BHP lifted its offer to C$0.75 per share, up 36% from its previous offer of C$0.55 per share and exceeding the C$0.70 per share offer from Wyloo

“BHP Group PLC (LSE:BHP) increased its cash offer for Noront Resources Ltd (TSX-V:NOT), trumping a bid from Australian billionaire Andrew Forrest’s Wyloo Metals Pty Ltd and winning support from Noront. BHP lifted its offer to C$0.75 per share, up 36% from its previous offer of C$0.55 per share and exceeding the C$0.70 per share offer from Wyloo made two days ago. BHP’s new offer values the Canadian nickel miner at about C$344mln (£202mln).” Read more here…

October 20, 2021 (Northern Ontario Business):

BHP counters Wyloo offer for Ring of Fire assets

Noront recommends shareholders accept improved BHP offer

“Mining heavyweight BHP has boosted its all-cash offer for Noront Resources shareholders to $0.75 per share in its bidding war with fellow Australian miner Wyloo Metals for control of the leading metals project in the Northern Ontario’s Ring of Fire region. The BHP offer presents a 36 per cent bump-up to an earlier offer and a 7 per cent premium to Wyloo’s earlier offer from this week. Noront’s board considers the BHP offer to be superior to that Wyloo’s $0.70 offer and recommends Noront shareholders tender their sharess to the BHP offer. The deadline to do so is Nov. 9 at 11:59 p.m. Toronto time.” Read more here…

October 20, 2021 (Welland Tribune):

Ring of Fire developer Noront Resources board backs sweetened takeover offer from BHP

“The board of Noront Resources Ltd. is backing a sweetened takeover offer from BHP, which raised its bid for the company after it was set to accept a rival offer from Wyloo Metals Pty Ltd. BHP raised its offer to 75 cents per share from an earlier proposal of 55 cents after Noront ruled Wyloo’s bid of 70 cents per share was a superior proposal. However, Noront now says it believes the increased BHP offer provides shareholders with the value inherent in its portfolio without the long-term risks associated with the development and execution of those projects.” Read more here…

October 21, 2021 (CBC):

Australian mining giants ramp up Ring of Fire takeover

Both companies looking to buy out Noront Resources

“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.” Read more here…

October 21, 2021 (Toronto Star):

Eyes on BHP in Noront bidding war

“A prolonged bidding war among two familiar mining-industry heavyweights for control of potential mineral deposits in the remote Ring of Fire may come to an end later this week. Australian mining multinational BHP Western Mining Resources International (BHP) has just a few more days to trump the latest offer by a competitor to take control of Toronto-based Ring of Fire proponent Noront Resources. On Monday, Noront declared that an improved offer from Wyloo Metals of 70 cents per share “constitutes a superior proposal as compared to the outstanding BHP offer.”” Read more here…

October 21, 2021 (Toronto Star):

BHP ups bid for Noront

“A high-stakes bidding war for control of potentially large Ring of Fire deposits of nickel, copper and chromite continued Wednesday, with a global mining-industry giant upping the ante. Shareholders of Ring of Fire proponent Noront Resources have about three weeks to decide if they will accept the latest offering from Australia’s BHP, which is willing to pay 75 cents per share for Toronto-based Noront. BHP’s offer is five cents more than a bid on Monday by Australian competitor Wyloo Metals, which Noront had earlier characterized as the best deal for its shareholders. Wyloo began the bidding in May, offering 31 cents per share. “It’s great to see the value of the Ring of Fire being realized,” said Thunder Bay-based Ontario Prospectors Association executive-director Garry Clark. “Hopefully all parties can move forward toward developing the economics for the area.”” Read more here…

October 21, 2021 (Sault Online):

Ferrochrome plant nowhere near a go or no go, says Provenzano

“Mayor Provenzano says there are a lot of steps which need to be determined before the a Ferrochrome Plant in Sault Ste. Marie comes to a final decision. We asked both he and CAO Malcolm White where the plans for the plant stood as there has been both support and significant opposition in the community to its potential existence.

“You certainly wouldn’t say it’s a go, or no go. I think it’s frankly too early to be to be either of those things. And really, you’ve got to just look at the the news about the company to determine that there’s a lot of story left to be told here,” said Provenzano during a longer discussion which covered a variety of topics. “Noront [has] always been very clear that they weren’t going to be doing anything on the Ferrochrome Production Facility Project until they had clarity on on the road. There still is no road into the Ring of Fire.” Read more here…

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