Horizon Minerals (ASX:HRZ) has boosted its offer for Focus Minerals’ (ASX:FML) 2.1 million-ounce Coolgardie gold project from $40m to $55m to match an unnamed third party bid.

An exclusivity deed was signed in February between Horizon – a merger between McPhersons Resources and Intermin Resources – over the purchase of Focus’ 2.1moz Coolgardie gold project, which includes the mothballed Three Mile Hill processing plant.

In July, Horizon said the proposed $40m acquisition had been delayed by three months, ostensibly to “finalise formal documents”.

Today, we find out that Focus received a superior competing bid, which Horizon has now matched under the terms of its exclusivity deed.

The counter proposal increases the proposed price from $40m to $55m, comprising $12m in fully paid ordinary shares and $43m in cash.

Focus has decided that Horizon has successfully matched the third-party bid.

“As a result, the terms of the exclusivity deed have been updated to reflect the terms proposed in Horizon’s counter proposal, and Horizon and Focus will continue to use their reasonable endeavours to agree formal binding documentation in respect of the counter proposal,” Focus said.

Focus is up about 10 per cent to 36c, while Horizon fell about 7 per cent to 13.5c in morning trade.


In other gold news today:

Millennium Minerals (ASX:MOY) has reduced Nullagine production guidance for CY2020, from 80,000oz-90,000oz to 70,000oz-75,000oz. Millennium says recent delays in open pit mining approvals, plus delays in ramping up at Bartons underground and sulphide plant commissioning are to blame. The stock fell about 13 per cent on the news.

Otherwise, the miner says Nullagine operations have “significantly advanced” over the last six months, with Bartons now in full production and the sulphide plant operating within design parameters. To offset the impact of lower production on costs, Millennium is switching to an owner-operator business model for open pit mining load and haul operations from October 2019.