Augusta says nine potential buyers are reviewing its confidential data

TORONTO – Augusta Resource Corp. (TSX:AZC), which is fighting a hostile takeover bid by HudBay Minerals Inc. (TSX:HBM), says nine potential buyers have signed confidentiality agreements and have been reviewing its books.

The company said it will start site visits to its Rosemont copper project in Arizona next week and expects them to take place over the next three to four weeks.

Hudbay has offered 0.315 of a Hudbay share for each Augusta share, making its bid worth about $390 million or about $2.69 per share, based on its share price Friday.

However, Augusta shares were up nine cents at $3.44 in trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

The Rosemont project, near Tucson, Ariz., has proven and probable reserves of 5.9 billion pounds of copper and 194 million pounds of molybdenum that is used d in making various types of steel alloys.

“As we anticipated, our strategic review process has proven to be very robust and we are pleased with the quantity and quality of the interested parties,” Augusta president and chief executive Gil Clausen said in a statement.

“There is no doubt that potential buyers recognize that our near-construction Rosemont copper project is a unique, world-class asset that has true scarcity value.”

Earlier this month, HudBay extended its bid and dropped its condition that shareholders hold at least two-thirds of the stock tender to the offer.

Under the extension, Augusta shareholders have until 5 p.m. ET on April 2 to tender their shares to the offer.