UPDATE 3-First Quantum wins $5 bln battle for copper rival Inmet

Fri Mar 22, 2013 4:14pm EDT
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* First Quantum says 85.5 pct of shareholders tender to bid

* Continues consolidation among copper miners

* Says can keep to Inmet schedule on Cobre Panama

* Sees "full pipeline" but more deals possible

By Julie Gordon and Clara Ferreira-Marques

TORONTO/LONDON, March 22 (Reuters) - First Quantum Minerals Ltd said on Friday it had won enough shareholder support to take over Inmet Mining Corp, winning a C$5.1 billion hostile battle for control of one of the world's largest untapped copper deposits.

The deal - the latest in an industry that has concentrated to leave ever fewer pure copper miners behind - creates one of the world's biggest producers of the red metal.

It also transforms First Quantum, which until now has made more than 80 percent of its profit in Zambia.

First Quantum, for its part, faces arguably its toughest test to date in Inmet's $6.2 billion Cobre Panama project, the jewel in the miner's crown.   Continued...