Lynch Minerals, the British mining and quarry giant, is to sell its stake in Australia’s oldest and largest uranium mine for $2,5bn, with the company to pay $1.25bn to the federal government.
Lynch is in talks with investors over the deal and the value could be up to $1bn.
The Australian Securities Exchange has opened a bidding war on the shareholding, which is valued at about $1 billion.
Lynch, which was founded in 1896 by John Hancock and later acquired by Anglo American, mines uranium, copper and other minerals, including nickel, and also operates in the iron ore and nickel mining industries.
Lynn, whose shares have a market value of $15.7bn, has been at loggerheads with its Australian parent since the company’s collapse in 2008, when the company was forced to abandon plans to open a new mine in South Australia.
Lynches shares fell almost 40 per cent in 2013 after the company failed to secure a new deal for a $1,000-a-share uranium mine at Murrayfield in South Western Victoria.
At the time, Lynch said it would explore all options and the prospect of reopening the Murrayfield mine was not likely.
Lynchi Minerals was taken private by Anglo and bought by China’s State Grid in 2014.
It was given the green light to resume uranium mining in 2016, after the state government’s decision to ban mining in the state’s reserves, which had been approved by the Victorian government in 2015.
The sale was not expected to have a material impact on Lynch’s business.