Hecla to buy Aurizon Mines to gain access to Quebec gold mine

Mon Mar 4, 2013 9:53am EST
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By Bhaswati Mukhopadhyay

(Reuters) - U.S. silver miner Hecla Mining Co (HL.N: Quote) will buy Aurizon Mines Ltd (ARZ.TO: Quote) AZK.A for about C$796 million ($774 million), topping an unsuccessful bid by the Canadian company's largest shareholder to gain control of a gold mine in Quebec.

Hecla shares fell more than 11 percent to $4.11 in early trading, while Aurizon shares rose as much as 6 percent to C$4.60 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Hecla, the second-largest U.S. silver miner by output, offered C$4.75 per share to acquire Vancouver, British Columbia-based Aurizon, the companies said.

The offer price represents a 9 percent premium to Aurizon's Friday close of C$4.35 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

In January, Aurizon rejected an unsolicited takeover offer of C$4.65 per share from Alamos Gold Inc (AGI.TO: Quote), which already owns more than 16 percent of the company.

Alamos, the largest single shareholder in Aurizon, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Aurizon operates the Casa Berardi mine in Quebec, from which it expects production of 125,000-130,000 ounces of gold in 2013.

Aurizon said last month it was in talks with a number of potential buyers.   Continued...