TORONTO – FALCONBRIDGE has agreed to sell its Nikkelverk nickel refinery in Kristiansand, Norway, to LIONORE MINING INTERNATIONAL for US$650 million. The deal would facilitate the friendly takeover of Falconbridge by INCO LTD. and is conditional on the Inco-Falco combination. Falconbridge’s related marketing and custom feed operations are included in the transaction.
LionOre (www.LionOre.com) says that acquiring the Nikkelverk refinery will expand its processing abilities and be complementary to the Activox hydrometallurgical technology that it is commercializing.
Falconbridge has been under pressure to divest some of its assets in order to gain approval of the U.S. Department of Justice and the European Commission for the proposed deal with Inco. The Nikkelverk refinery has an annual capacity of 85,000 tonnes of nickel, 39,000 tonnes of copper, 5,200 tonnes of cobalt and 115,000 tonnes of sulphuric acid.
The Inco-Falconbridge combination is far from assured. TECK COMINCO has made a competing bid for Inco, and XSTRATA has made a similar move for Falconbridge. The ONTARIO SECURITIES COMMISSION has scheduled a hearing later this month on Xstrata’s application to terminate Falconbridge’s shareholder rights plan.