The Rush to Acquire Copper Resources

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"With prices near record-highs, there's extra incentive for companies to secure future supply."

The copper market is already in a deficit and this situation is expected to continue, at least for the near-term, until new supply comes online. Most of the world's major copper mines are currently coping with falling ore grades and heightened costs of production as miners are forced to dig to greater depths to extract the last of a valuable resource. In the long-term, growth in the emerging economies is projected to require a great deal of copper. As these countries grow, they will need copper to build infrastructure, housing and manufacture electronics. With prices near record-highs, there is extra incentive for companies to secure future supplies of the red metal.

The best way for a company to gain quick access to minerals is to acquire, or merge with, a company that already has assets. Equinox Mineral's recent bid for Lundin Mining Corporation has sparked rumors that there will be a bidding war for the base metals miner and may even set the stage for a blitz in M&A activity across the sector. Adding further support to the rumor mill, shortly after Equinox's offer for Lundin, Equinox found itself at the other end of the acquisition deal as Minmetals Resources announced its interest in acquiring Equinox.

Equinox, made an unsolicited bid on Lundin March 20 for CAD$7.75/share that many analysts, and Lundin itself, immediately called "too low." Shortly after Equinox's offer, Minmetals Resources revealed plans for a CAD$6.3 billion offer for Equinox Minerals. When it announced its interest, Minmetals also added that it was interested in Equinox due to the company's copper mines—the same reason Equinox is interested in Lundin, apparently. With the price of copper poised to rally for the next few years, analysts predict that Lundin may attract more offers in the months to come.

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