Canadian copper miner First Quantum Minerals is rumoured to be considering a bid for BHP Billiton’s Raventhorpe project. It would be looking to expand its current nickel laterite portfolio, adding to its nickel laterite project in Finland and copper operations in Africa. To date First Quantum is yet to comment on whether it will submit a binding offer for Ravensthorpe. The Canadian miner had over $800 million in cash at the beginning of October 2009.
BHP is reported to have stated to potential bidders that it wants between $300 million and $500 million for its Ravensthorpe operation. This cost would be coupled with a similar bill to revive the mine and combat the technical issues that hampered the operation. However, there remain concerns over the lower grade ores that have been produced from the site.
Minara Resources and China Metallurgical Group have also been reported as considering a bid for Ravensthorpe. Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest is also rumoured to be searching for a Chinese partner to support a bid through his listed nickel vehicle Poseidon Nickel.