BHP Billiton, Nyrstar in talks to acquire Canadian miner Lundin Mining: report

Anglo-Australian miner BHP Billiton is in talks with Belgian zinc producer Nyrstar to launch a multi-billion pound takeover of Canadian diversified miner Lundin Mining, British newspaper The Daily Telegraph reported without citing sources.

The paper said that it is unclear what price BHP would offer for Toronto-based Lundin, whose whose stock value had recently plummeted

Lundin, which faced a C$4.63-billion hostile takeover threat from Equinox Minerals saw its shares plunge to a quarter once Equinox abandoned its pursuit of Lundin; its market capitalisation plummeted from a high of $13.6 billion during the end of the first quarter of this year to nearly $3 billion yesterday on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Following the hostile bid, Lundin in January agreed to be acquired by Canada's Inmet Mining Corp for C$4.1 billion. Lundin later dumped the agreement with Inmet and adopted a poison pill defense, in order to explore other alternatives including a higher bid from other suitors.

After receiving low offers including one from Swiss diversified miner Xstrata, Lundin said in May it was no longer up for sale and would now focus on internal growth, in particular its exploration plan at its Neves-Corvo copper mine in Portugal.

Lundin is currently developing the Tenke Fungurume copper and cobalt deposit in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in which it owns a 24.75-per cent stake. It also has operations in Portugal, Sweden, Spain and Ireland, producing copper, zinc, lead and nickel.

After its $38.6-billion in cash takeover bid in August last year for Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan (PotashCorp), the world's largest fertiliser producer, was rejected by the Canadian regulators, BHP has gone on a acquisition spree by last month announcing plans to buy Petrohawk Energy for $12.1 billion and yesterday agreed to acquire HWE Mining, which provides mining services in the Pilbara iron ore region in Western Australia from Leighton Holdings for $727 million.