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Hindalco goes Down Under for copper mine

Mumbai, Jan. 24: Hindalco Industries will acquire a copper mine in Australia for $ 79.80 million (around Rs 222 crore), a step towards consolidating the raw material base for its smelter in Gujarat.

Hindalco Industries has tied up with Straits Resources Ltd (SRL) to acquire the latter’s subsidiary, Straits (Nifty) Pty Ltd, which owns the mine.

The acquisition would be completed through Hindalco’s new wholly-owned Australian subsidiary, Birla Mineral Resources, A V Birla group chairman Kumarmangalam Birla said today after the board meeting.

“The acquisition of Nifty, when completed, will elevate us to an integrated copper producer. We want to source 25 per cent of our total requirement from captive copper mines and this decision will take us to 12-13 per cent,” he added.

D. Bhattacharya, managing director of Birla Management Corporation, said the acquisition also comprises rights to explore in Paterson Range located in the richly mineralised Paterson province that hosts known copper and gold ore bodies.

“Additionally the 50 per cent interest of SRL in the Maroochydore joint venture was being acquired for Australian $ 10 million, taking the total transaction cost to Australian $ 89.80 million (approx Rs 250 crore),” he said.

On achieving the target of meeting 25 per cent of total requirement from captive copper mines, he said the group would look at acquisitions and explore potential in Paterson range.

The acquisition was expected to be completed by March-end with all requisite approvals, including that of the Reserve Bank of India and SRL shareholders, he said.

This is the second major acquisition overseas by the A V Birla group, the earlier one being the Athloville pulp mill in Canada four years back.

Birla said this announcement was also made in the light of scheme of amalgamation between Indo Gulf Corporation and Hindalco, which was nearing conclusion.

The company would also get possession of a 32-seater aircraft currently owned by a SRL subsidiary.

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