China's Meijin Energy launches $457-mn bid for Australia's Western Desert Resources

China's Meijin Energy Group has launched a A$435 million ($457 million) cash bid for Australian diversified miner Western Desert Resources Ltd, as the coking coal producer seeks to diversify into iron ore, gold, copper and uranium.

Meijin Energy, China's largest private coking coal producer, has offered to pay $1.08 a share, representing a 26-per cent premium to Western Desert last closing price of 85.5 Australian cents on 14 September.

"This offer from a major Chinese corporation represents excellent value for shareholders,'' Western Desert's chairman, Rick Allert said in a statement.

Adelaide, South Australia- based Western Desert Resources is a diversified miner with a portfolio of assets that include gold and copper tenements near Pine Creek and Tennant Creek, and other base metal projects.

The company's flagship project is the iron ore deposits at Roper Bar, near the Gulf of Carpentaria with total inferred and indicated mineral resource estimates of 352.6 million tonnes at 40.2 per cent fe, and its East Rover gold and copper project near Tennant Creek.

Apart from iron ore, copper, and gold, Western Desert Resources also mines for other base metals like lead, zinc, uranium, rare earths, phosphate, and vanadium.