Leading international law firm Mayer Brown advised mining client Xstrata in connection with its A$2.50 per share cash offer for iron ore company Sphere Minerals, which operates throughout Mauritania, West Africa.

Xstrata’s offer values Sphere at US$383 million. The acquisition in Mauritania, a country with an established history of iron ore exports, would add considerable growth opportunities to Xstrata’s portfolio through three large-scale projects.

Xstrata is a global mining group, listed on the London and Swiss stock exchanges, with positions in major international commodity markets including copper, nickel, coal and zinc. It has operations in 19 countries.

The Mayer Brown team advised Xstrata on Mauritanian and mining related issues and was led by partner Rachel Speight and associate Alban Dorin. Mallesons Stephen Jaques advised Xstrata on the corporate aspects of the offer.

Rachel Speight, partner in Mayer Brown’s Mining Group said:
"This represents a very important deal for Xstrata and Mauritania and we are delighted that we were given the opportunity to advise Xstrata on this transaction. The team advised on issues specific to Mauritania, and the deal builds on our already strong track record and reputation in advising on mining deals in Sub-Saharan Africa."

Mayer Brown has a recognised and distinguished mining team who have extensive experience of advising clients working in the global mining industry. The advice given to Xstrata builds on the already significant pool of expertise the team has in advising clients in Sub-Saharan Africa, where they have advised clients in 24 countries to date. The team has recently advised on PFI magazine's "Africa Deal of the Year 2009" and the first mining project financing in Eritrea for Nevsun Resources; and also advised Avocet Mining on the financing and other aspects of a mining project in Burkina Faso.

For further information:

John Thompson
PR Executive, London
+44 20 3130 8393