First Quantum Minerals Ltd. plans to sell as much as C$1.44 billion ($1.18 billion) of shares to help reduce its debt in the biggest equity offering by a North American mining company in almost 18 months.
The proceeds will also be used to expand its production facilities, Vancouver-based First Quantum said Wednesday in a statement.
The company operates copper mines in Africa, produces nickel in Australia and copper and zinc in Turkey. It plans to boost annual copper production capacity to more than 1.3 million metric tons within five years.
If the over-allotment option is exercised, the First Quantum share sale will be the largest in North American since Vancouver-based Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd. raised $2.4 billion in a 2013 rights offering, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The underwriters of the offering will be led by Royal Bank of Canada and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
The shares dropped 1.1 percent to C$17.26 before trading was halted in Toronto pending the announcement. The company has gained 4.5 percent this year, while the Bloomberg World Mining Index has gained 6.6 percent.