IGO has been forced to up its offer to keep alive hopes of securing takeover target Western Areas after the friendly tie-up was derailed by an independent expert’s report.   The two companies emerged from days of talks to reveal they had agreed on a higher cash offer of $3.87 a share, up just over 15 per cent from an initial $3.36-a-share.

The new bid values Western Areas at just more than $1.26 billion. The offer represents a 6 per cent premium to Western Areas’ last traded price on April 4 before its shares were placed in a halt.

Western Areas chair Ian Macliver said the board had unanimously recommended to shareholders that they approve the revised scheme.

“The board is pleased to have negotiated an agreement with IGO considering the recent volatility in the nickel price and the positive impact this has had on Western Areas’ cashflow position and fundamental asset value since the initial scheme was announced on December 16, 2021,” Mr Macliver said.

The deal was left on the brink of collapse when KPMG, which had been appointed by Western Areas to rubber stamp the union, amended a draft report from January which had declared it fair and reasonable to say it was no longer in the best interests of shareholders.   IGO had initially said its $3.36-a-share offer was based on its long term-view of nickel market fundamentals and pricing.

The timetable for IGO’s offer has been extended until July 31.


IGO, Barminco finish Nova electric vehicle trial

IGO and Barminco have advanced the electrification of the Nova nickel-copper-cobalt mine located near Balladonia following the trial of a Normet underground electric vehicle (EV), which has successfully handled the site’s conditions.

The three-month trial used Normet’s Charmec MC 605 VE SD for underground operations as part of IGO and Barminco’s commitment to the Electric Mine Consortium which aims to decarbonise and electrify the mining industry.  Normet’s SmartDrive technology features fast charging capability for its high-torque electric motors.

According to Barminco, which provides mining services at Nova, the three-month trial has delivered positive feedback.

“Feedback on this new technology has been positive, with operators and maintenance all agreeing that the driving is comfortable, smooth, and controlled, allowing tramming speeds to remain consistent up and down the declines,” Barminco stated.

The trial aimed to demonstrate how underground equipment can be faster and does not require diesel power.

“This battery electric driven system proved to handle Australian mining conditions, contrasting operating styles, varying tramming lengths, diverse changes to incline and decline and temperatures,” Barminco stated.

The vehicle was charged on day and night shifts to give Normet technicians the ability to monitor the vehicles in a real mining environment.