June 9th (Steel Guru) – JMB reported that Mitsui & Co’s mineral and metal resources unit will expand the iron ore interests to 1.5 times at annual 66 million tonnes in 2015 from now under the long term vision.

As per report Mitsui & Co’s mineral and metal resources will expands the iron ore and nickel interests through expansion of existing project while the unit increases aluminum and copper interests to more than double through new projects.

It plans JPY 160 billion of investment in fiscal 2008 ending March 2009 and keeps investing annual JPY 100 billion for the target.

June 4th (Reuters) – Chinese metals trader Sinosteel said on Wednesday it has raised its stake in Midwest Corp (MIS.AX: Quote, Profile, Research) to 28.37 percent from 19.89 percent as it seeks to take over the Australian iron ore prospector.

Sinosteel has offered A$6.38 a share for Midwest, which is also the subject of a merger proposal from neighbouring iron ore miner in Western Australia, Murchison Metals Ltd (MMX.AX: Quote, Profile, Research).

 

Murchison has designed its proposal so it does not conflict directly with Sinosteel’s bid, although both firms are competing to win control of Midwest, and Midwest’s board has recommended both deals.

 

Sinosteel managed to increase its holding even though Midwest’s shares are above Sinosteel’s offer price, trading at A$6.76 by 0134 GMT on Wednesday.

 

The stock has retreated from a high of A$7.10 on May 30 and Sinosteel has said it is confident that its cash bid will eventually trump Murchison’s all-stock merger plan.

 

In a war of words between the two rival suitors, Sinosteel dismissed the merger offer as unlikely to succeed and listed the perceived shortcomings, which Murchison rejected point by point.

 

Murchison’s shares have slipped back to A$4.09, implying its merger proposal is now worth around A$7.12 per Midwest share. It is backed by Japan’s Mitsubishi Corp (8058.T: Quote, Profile, Research) and U.S. hedge fund Harbinger Capital, Murchison’s top shareholder, which has built up a stake of 8.1 percent in Midwest.

 

Sinosteel’s A$6.38-a-share offer was originally conditional on getting at least 50 percent acceptance but last week it scrapped the condition, improving the bid’s attractiveness. It has said it will not raise its bid above A$6.38.

 

Analysts say the idea of a tie-up between Midwest and Murchison makes perfect sense because of their shared infrastructure and adjacent projects, and even if Sinosteel’s bid succeeds the Chinese company is likely to want Murchison as well.

May 27 (WA Business News) – Aurox Resources Ltd today released a response to media reports to clarify the relationship between the WA-based explorer and China’s state owned Chengde Iron and Steel Group.

The company said that media reports in Hong Kong and WA have reported that “China’s state owned Chengde Iron and Steel Group was in talks to buy a stake” in Aurox Resources Limited.

Aurox said in the announcement that Chengde Iron and Steel Group entered into a 15-year sales agreement for iron ore concentrate from the Company’s Balla Balla project in March 2007.

The company’s share register already includes RockCheck Steel Group Co. Ltd of China with approximately 8% of the issued capital of Aurox.

Aurox has held discussions in recent months with a number of parties concerning equity investment, including Chengde, and although those are ongoing there is no certainty that a transaction will be concluded.

The response followed a request to enter a trading halt by the company.