Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile SA (SQM) has made an offer to acquire all shares of Azure Minerals Ltd. by way of a scheme of arrangement for A$3.524 ($2.27) per share, and a simultaneous off-market takeover bid for a cash price of A$3.505 ($2.25) per Azure share, should the scheme be unsuccessful.

The offer implies an equity value of roughly A$1.62 billion ($1.04 billion). The transaction is subject to limited conditions and is not subject to financing or due diligence. The Azure board has unanimously recommended that shareholders vote in favor.

SQM already holds a 19.99% stake in Azure. “SOM’s proposal represents a highly attractive offer for Azure shareholders, providing a compelling cash value in a time of broader market volatility,” SQM CEO Ricardo Ramos said.

Azure has four exploration projects in Australia. The most advanced is the 108-km2 Andover Project in the West Pilbara region of Western Australia. Nickel-focused exploration has discovered several significant bodies of nickel, copper and cobalt sulphide mineralization with two deposits drilled to mineral resource estimate status.

Azure has also identified abundant spodumene-bearing, lithium-rich pegmatites on the Andover property, currently estimated at 100-240 million metric tons (mt) grading at 1%-1.5% Li2O.