TORONTO (CP) -- Inmet Mining Corp. [TSX:IMN] is moving to advance the Petaquilla copper property in Panama, offering $2 a share for Petaquilla Copper Ltd. [TSX:PTC] - a total of about $320 million in cash.
The offer is more than double Petaquilla's closing price Friday of 96 cents on the TSX, down from $4.20 a year ago.
Vancouver-headquartered Petaquilla Copper claims to own 52 per cent of the Panamanian development - a holding that is disputed by Teck Cominco Ltd. [TSX:TCK.B] - with the other 48 per cent held by Inmet.
Petaquilla Copper and Inmet said in May that Inmet would manage the project in Panama, where Teck claims a 26 per cent stake after delivering in March what it characterized as a final commitment to participate in the mine.
The dispute is in arbitration and Inmet sides with Teck Cominco, which has funded front-end engineering and design costs.
Petaquilla Copper asserts that Teck failed to satisfy the conditions to make the final commitment and its interest in the deposit was terminated.
Inmet was ''extremely disappointed'' with this position, after it signed a deal with Teck in March to proceed with the development, whose expected costs have more than doubled to US$3.5 billion.
Inmet said Sunday its bid for Petaquilla Copper is subject to acceptance by half of Petaquilla's shareholders, and it has lock-up agreements with institutional investors owning 9.4 per cent of the company.
Inmet has four producing mines - the Cayeli copper-zinc mine in Turkey, the Pyhasalmi copper-zinc mine in Finland, the Troilus copper-gold operation in northwest Quebec and the Ok Tedi copper-gold mine in Papua New Guinea. It also has interests in copper developments in Spain and Turkey.