Felix in takeover talks

SOUGHT-after Australian coal miner Felix Resources says it was in takeover talks with “more than one interested party” this morning, but gave no assurance the talks would end in a deal being proposed.
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Water sampling at Felix Resources' Moolarben project.

Vivienne Ryan

Felix said “change of control discussions” with third parties were continuing and it expected to make an announcement in the next few weeks.

The sale of Felix has been expected to generate local and international interest, news agency Reuters reported last week.

Reuters said Felix could be attractive to global miners BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, Xstrata and Vale as well as China’s Citic Group.

In July, Felix said several parties had shown an interest in a potential takeover; however, no formal offer has yet been made for the coal miner.

Last week, Felix gave its dogged Moolarben coal mine development in New South Wales the go-ahead after the state government passed a key amendment to the Mining Act.

NSW Mineral Resources Minister Ian Macdonald said the bill would amend the Mining Act to ensure the process set out in the legislation reflected the existing practice for mining lease applications.

The government intervention came about when mining house Xstrata challenged the validity of Felix’s Moolarben mining leases and in August the NSW Court of Appeal ruled in favour of the Swiss company – but no orders were made by the court at the time.

Felix said that, as the correct process had been followed in the case of the Moolarben mining lease, the company believed the amendment would support its case.

The NSW government granted Felix’s mining leases over Moolarben’s Stage 1 development in December 2007.

Shares in the company were up 6% at $A19.09 in mid-morning trade.

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