Minter Ellison advises on Baosteel and FMG consolidation of interests in FMG Iron Bridge

26 June 2012

Minter Ellison’s Perth office has reinforced its growing credentials as the legal gateway between China's investment houses and Western Australia’s mineral riches in a transaction that links Baosteel, one of China’s biggest steel groups, with Fortescue Metals Group (FMG), Australia's third largest iron ore miner. The deal covers one of the world’s most prospective magnetite iron projects in Western Australia's Pilbara region.

Under the deal, signed in Shanghai in June 2012, the two giants will consolidate their interests in the Glacier Valley and Northstar mining leases into FMG Iron Bridge Ltd. Fortescue will own 88% and Baosteel 12% of FMG Iron Bridge, which is a Hong Kong-based subsidiary of Fortescue.

The Northstar (previously 100% Fortescue) and Glacier Valley (previously 65% Fortescue, 35% Baosteel) magnetite deposits have iron resources of more than 3.2 billion tonnes.

Minter Ellison's Australian legal team provided legal due diligence and drafted and negotiated the transaction agreements. Assistance was provided by the firm's Hong Kong office. Key lawyers involved were partners Andrew Thompson and Katherine U and special counsel Stephanie Rowland.

"Baosteel proved an immensely rewarding client," partner Andrew Thompson said. "It was focused in its objectives and had a thorough understanding of the dual jurisdictions and of the importance of having relevant and timely legal advice from an Australian perspective.

"Our team's experience in and detailed understanding of Australia's resources issues and challenges was also critical in our ability to provide legal guidance on the final content, form and sustainability of this transaction,"
he said.