(Bloomberg) — BHP Group increased its stake in Ecuadorian copper miner SolGold Plc, another sign that the biggest miners are increasing exposure to copper in the hope that the electrification of cities and cars will boost demand.
SolGold shares surged the most since June after Bloomberg earlier reported the companies were in talks. Melbourne-based BHP paid 17.1 million pounds ($22 million) to raise its holding in the company to 14.7%, almost drawing level with top investor Newcrest Mining Ltd.
Brisbane-based SolGold’s interests in Ecuador include the flagship Alpala copper-gold project, which the company estimates has a potential 55-year life and is among the world’s best undeveloped deposits. The company is also studying 13 other priority targets in the nation, according to a presentation this month.
BHP paid 22.15 pence a share, a 9.3% premium to SolGold’s 20-day volume-weighted average, according to a statement on Monday. The deal also gives BHP options to purchase another 19.25 million shares by 2024.
It had built its stake last year through two transactions and agreed it wouldn’t acquire further shares for two years without SolGold’s consent.
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