Nevsun white knight offers $6 a share

Exploration activities at Nevsun's Timok copper-gold project in Serbia. Source: Nevsun Resources Ltd.

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Nevsun’s Timok copper-gold exploration project in Serbia. Source: Nevsun Resources Ltd.

China’s Zijin Mining has emerged as a white knight in the Nevsun Resources Ltd. [NSU-TSX, NYSE AMERICAN] takeover saga.

Nevsun said Wednesday September 5 that it has signed a definitive agreement with Zijin Mining, which has agreed to acquire all of the outstanding shares of Nevsun for $1.86 billion or $6 a share.

News of the agreement comes after Nevsun formally rejected a $1.4 billion all-cash takeover bid from Lundin Mining Corp. [LUN-TSX; LUMI-Sweden], worth $4.75 a share.

This friendly proposal arises from the company’s recently launched strategic review. The acquisition of Nevsun’s Timok Project will complement Zijin’s recently announced purchase of the nearby Bor Mine and complex in Serbia.

In an investment report, Scotiabank said the in the opinion of its senior base metals analyst Orest Wowkodaw, the offer represents fair value. Wowkodaw does not expect Lundin Mining to return with a higher offer.

On Wednesday, Nevsun shares jumped 17.21% to $5.79 on active volume of just over 10 million.

Nevsun is a leading mid-tier base metals company. It operates Bisha, a high-grade open pit copper-zinc mine in Eritrea and is developing the Timok copper-gold project in Serbia.

Timok consists of the Cukaru Peki Upper Zone and Lower Zone.  Nevsun owns 100% of the Cukaru Peki Upper Zone. The Lower Zone is a joint venture with Freeport McMoran Corp [FCX-NYSE].

An initial reserve for the Upper Zone was released in March, 2018. It is estimated to contain a probable reserve for the Upper Zone is estimated at 27 million tonnes at an average grade of 3.3% copper, and 2.1 g/t gold, containing 0.89 million tonnes of copper and 1.8 million ounces of gold.

The Timok Lower Zone is estimated to host an inferred mineral resource of approximately 1.7 billion tonnes, grading 0.86% copper and 0.18 g/t gold, containing 31.5 billion pounds of copper and 9.6 million ounces of gold at a cut-off grade of 0.38% copper equivalent.

At that level, the Timok Lower Zone ranks among undeveloped world copper porphyry deposits in terms of size and grade and benchmarks well against planned and operating block cave mines.

For its part, Zijin recently won a tender offer to become a strategic partner in Serbia’s sole copper complex RTB Bor, pledging to invest $1.26 billion in return for a 63% stake. The company also promised a further $200 million to settle RTB Bor’s debt and said it would keep all 5,000 workers.

Serbian Energy Minister Aleksander Antic said that out of the $1.26 billion, $135 million would be invested in improving the environment, while another $320 million would be invested in opening a new copper mine.

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