Among the companies that lined up to bid for Atlantic Nickel, a company that owns the Santa Rita mine in Brazil’s Bahia state, were two car-making firms. Not normally in the mix when it comes to direct, large-scale mining sector merger and acquisition (M&A) activity, their presence speaks volumes about metals scarcity, especially in a world of strangled supply chains.
As it turned out, South Africa’s Sibanye-Stillwater placed the winning bid for Atlantic Nickel. It offered $1bn in cash to Appian Advisory Capital, a UK-based private equity fund that had picked up Atlantic Nickel and another – Minerac¸a~o Vale Verde (MVV) – out of bankruptcy in 2018. MVV owns the Serrote copper project, also situated in Brazil, which Appian Advisory redeveloped, and will become Sibanye-Stillwater’s first dedicated copper-producing asset.
For Sibanye-Stillwater, buying Santa Rita and Serrote was the company’s fourth major transaction this year in a high-risk, $2bn augmentation of its growth strategy.