Aquila to Seek Offers for South African Manganese Project

Aquila Resources Ltd. (AQA) will seek bids for its Avontuur manganese project in South Africa as part of a plan to raise about A$1 billion ($1 billion) selling assets.

An information document will be sent to more than 20 potential bidders in the next two weeks, Perth-based Aquila said in an e-mailed response to questions from Bloomberg. The project is valued at about A$500 million, according to a June estimate from Patersons Securities Ltd.

Aquila is seeking to sell three assets, including Avontuur, to help fund its share of the A$5.2 billion West Pilbara Iron Ore joint venture project with AMCI Inc. to be built in Western Australia. Avontuur, in which Aquila has a 74 percent stake, may produce as much as 2 million metric tons of manganese, the company has said.

Separately, Aquila has drawn up a shortlist of bidders for the Washpool coking coal project in Queensland, and hopes to announce a sale by early November, according to an e-mailed response to questions. The project is valued at about A$366 million, Patersons said in June. The company declined to comment on the number of bidders.

Aquila fell 1.3 percent to A$6.13 at the 4:10 p.m. close of Sydney trading. The stock has declined 16 percent in the past 12 months.

Peabody Energy Corp. and ArcelorMittal are among companies seeking to buy coal assets in Australia as demand rises in China and India, the world’s fastest-growing major economies.

To contact the reporter on this story: Elisabeth Behrmann in Sydney at ebehrmann1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rebecca Keenan at rkeenan5@bloomberg.net.

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