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Minmetals forgoes 2 assets of OZ Minerals

CHINA Minmetals Corp agreed to pay US$1.2 billion for most of OZ Minerals Ltd except for two main assets in a revised bid seeking to resolve the Australian government's rejection of its takeover.

The Chinese metals trading company will get mining assets in Australia, Laos and Canada, OZ Minerals said yesterday. The deal would help OZ Minerals, the world's No. 2 zinc producer, pare down its debt.

Minmetals' original proposal - a A$2.6-billion (US$1.8 billion), or 82.50 cents a share, takeover of OZ Minerals - was blocked last week because OZ's prime Prominent Hill copper-gold mine is near a defensive facility.

The new bid now excludes the Prominent Hill as well as the Martabe gold-silver prospect in Indonesia and OZ Minerals' interests in listed companies, including Toro Energy Ltd, a uranium explorer.

"While this is a structurally different proposal to the previous cash proposal from Minmetals of 82.50 Australian cents per share, we believe it represents an attractive offer for OZ Minerals and our shareholders," OZ Minerals Chairman Barry Cusack said in a statement yesterday. "Importantly, it also provides a complete solution to OZ Minerals' refinancing issues."


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