- BHP said Tuesday it had increased its stake in SoldGold, owner of the Cascabel copper-gold project in Ecuador, following the purchase of 100m shares for £45m.

Following completion of the private placement by SolGold, which was expected to occur on 19 Oct., BHP's interest in SolGold would increase to 11.2% from 6%.

BHP had agreed to pay 45p for each SolGold share, representing a 32% premium to the 20 day volume-weighted average London Stock Exchange price of 34p a share on 15 Oct.

Under the terms of agreement, BHP had the right to nominate one director to the SolGold board. BHP also had anti-dilution rights for a two year period to allow it to preserve its shareholding at 10%.

BHP also agreed not to acquire further shares in SolGold for a period of two years without SolGold's consent. 'Ecuador is a highly prospective region for the next generation of copper supply. This additional investment in SolGold strengthens our strategic position in the Cascabel copper exploration project, and is consistent with BHP's strategy to replenish our copper resource base and grow the business,' said BHP President Minerals Americas, Danny Malchuk.

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