Anglo American in talks to buy Britain’s biggest mine project

Shares of fertiliser company Sirius Minerals surge 34% on plan to buy the company for £386m

A Sirius Minerals test drilling station on the north Yorkshire moors near Whitby,  England. Photograph:   Reuters/Nigel Roddis

A Sirius Minerals test drilling station on the north Yorkshire moors near Whitby, England. Photograph: Reuters/Nigel Roddis

 

Global miner Anglo American is in advanced talks to buy British fertiliser company Sirius Minerals for about £386 million, throwing a potential lifeline to Britain’s biggest mining project.

If the indicative offer succeeds it could save hundreds of jobs in northern England, as well as diversify Anglo American’s portfolio.

Sirius has so far struggled to get financing for the project, and is reviewing the north Yorkshire polyhalite mine after scrapping in September a plan to raise $500 million in a bond sale, delaying the project.

Shares of Sirius surged 34 per cent to Anglo’s proposed offer price of 5.5 pence in morning trade, while Anglo slipped more than 1 per cent.

The review includes a search for a major strategic partner and financial investor to raise $600 million in funding needed to develop the project.

Anglo said it had identified the project as a “tier one” asset – a large long-life, high-margin deposit.

Sirius shares lost more than 80 per cent of their value last year. – Reuters