China’s Sinosteel Corp. said Wednesday it has boosted its stake in Australian iron ore miner and developer Midwest Corp. to 28.4 percent, from 19.9 percent.
The Chinese metals trader, which is battling Murchison Metals Ltd. for Midwest, is bidding 1.36 billion Australian dollars (US$1.3 billion; ?830 million) in an offer that ends June 13.
Sinosteel had 60.4 million Midwest shares as of June 3, up from 42.4 million at Feb. 20, the company said in notice to the Australian Securities Exchange. It has been buying Midwest shares at A$6.38 each, and last week dropped its condition for 50.1 percent shareholder approval for the bid.
Midwest’s share price fell around 1 percent, trading at A$6.73 midafternoon in Sydney.
Government-backed Chinese steel and other companies have become more aggressive in their global effort to secure the raw materials needed to keep up with China’s galloping economic expansion. Interest has increasingly fallen on Australia, the world’s biggest exporter of coal and the second largest iron ore exporter.
Midwest operates a mine in Western Australia state with a modest annual production of 1.1 million tons. It is developing a new iron ore project that will produce 16.5 million tons a year, also in Western Australia.