Teck, Antofagasta Said to Explore Copper Mining Merger – by Matthew Campbell and Dinesh Nair (Bloomberg News – March 30, 2015)

http://www.bloomberg.com/

(Bloomberg) — Teck Resources Ltd. and Antofagasta Plc are exploring a merger that would create one of the world’s largest copper producers, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The companies have held early-stage talks, and any agreement hinges on the approval of the families that control both miners, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing private information. There’s no guarantee they will reach a deal, which would be primarily stock based, the people said.

Teck shares in Toronto rose as much as 15 percent Monday, the most since April 2009 and were trading at C$20.03 ($15.78) as of 3:13 p.m. local time.

A combination of Teck, based in Vancouver, and London-based Antofagasta would be the first major mining transaction since an across-the-board slump in commodity prices hammered the industry. Both companies have extensive copper operations in Chile which could be combined by a merger, potentially reducing costs. Representatives for both companies declined to comment.

With a market value of about C$11.3 billion, Teck is Canada’s third-largest mining group after Goldcorp Inc. and Barrick Gold Corp. It’s backed by the Keevil family and Japan’s Sumitomo Metal Mining Co. Antofagasta, which is controlled by Chile’s Luksic family, is listed in London and has a market value of about 7.3 billion pounds ($10.8 billion).

A purchase of either company would be one of the mining industry’s largest deals over the past five years, data compiled by Bloomberg show, topping acquisitions by Newcrest Mining Ltd. in 2010 and Barrick Gold Corp. the following year.

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