Aussie miner tries to trump Chinese move on gold miner Noble

MELBOURNE Thu Oct 25, 2012 2:49am EDT

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MELBOURNE Oct 25 (Reuters) - Resolute Mining has proposed to acquire a 20 percent stake in gold miner Noble Mineral Resources and offered A$85 million in financing to Noble, looking to trump an offer by Chinese firm Zhongrun Resources Investment Corp.

Resolute, a gold miner with operations in Australia and Mali, is looking to stop Zhongrun from buying a 42 percent stake in Noble for A$85 million ($88 million), through a share sale Noble announced a month ago.

The miner is hoping to win over Noble shareholders who don't want their stakes to be heavily diluted by Zhongrun.

"Resolute's financing offer provides significant advantages to Noble shareholders, including speed and certainty of funding," Resolute said.

Noble's shares jumped 12 percent to A$0.14 after the offer was announced. Resolute's shares fell 4 percent to A$1.81.

Noble, which wants the money to fund the ramp-up of its Bibiani mine in Ghana to produce 150,000 ounces of gold a year and pay down debt, said it was assessing the proposal.

Resolute said it had reached agreement with some Noble shareholders to acquire just under 20 percent of the company in exchange for Resolute shares and offered Noble A$85 million in financing through two issues of convertible notes.

The financing offer was conditional upon Noble not going ahead with the share sale to Zhongrun.

Resolute's agreement with some Noble shareholders involved issuing one Resolute share for every 12 Noble shares, implying a share price of A$0.15 per Noble share based on Thursday's close.

($1 = 0.9676 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by Eric Meijer)

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