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Russia's Norilsk Nickel to make cash offer for Canada's LionOre

Russia's metals giant Norilsk Nickel said Thursday it will make a Ca$5.3 billion ($4.8 billion) offer to buy the Canadian gold and nickel producer LionOre Mining International Ltd.

Norilsk Nickel, the largest mining and metals company in Russia and one of the world's biggest producers of nickel, palladium, platinum and copper, will offer to buy all of the issued and outstanding common shares of LionOre Mining International Ltd. at a price of Ca$21.50 ($19.42) in cash for each LionOre common share, the company said in a statement. „This is an exciting opportunity for Norilsk Nickel, which will bring together two companies with a strong strategic fit and will enhance our position among the largest diversified mining companies in the world. The combination of Norilsk Nickel and LionOre results in greater scale in key commodities, enhanced geographic diversification and an exciting pipeline of projects, supported by a long-life and low-cost production portfolio,” Norilsk Nickel General Director Denis Morozov said. The offer also represents a premium of about 16.2% over a rival bid by Xstrata, a global diversified mining group with headquarters in Switzerland, Norilsk Nickel said. LionOre is a global nickel and gold producer with operations in Australia, Botswana and South Africa. In 2006, LionOre produced 34,094 metric tons of payable nickel and 155.203 ounces of gold, Norilsk Nickel said in a statement posted on its Web site. (