BHP Billiton may launch $3.2-bn bid for Brazil's Ferrous Resources: report

BHP Billiton, the world's biggest mining company, is close to launching a $3.2 billion bid for Brazilian iron ore miner Ferrous Resources, The Sunday Times yesterday reported, citing unidentified sources.

The news comes after several reports last week said that the Anglo-Australian miner may make a $6-billion bid for US coal company Walter Energy.

BHP Billiton started negotiations with the Belo Horizonte-based Brazilian company earlier this year, after an unnamed Chinese company made a conditional offer for Ferrous.

The report said that BHP Billiton could offer $3.2 billion for the Brazilian miner, or settle for a stake in the company.

Ferrous Resources abandoned a London flotation last year due to uncertain market conditions that would have valued it at $3.9 billion.

Founded in 2007 by Gordon Toll, a former executive at BHP Billiton who had also chaired Fortescue Metals Group and Ivanhoe Mines, Ferrous Resources is an iron ore developer in the "Iron Quadrangle" of Brazil's Minas Gerais state, touted to be the world's second-biggest iron ore province after Australia's Pilbara.