Lavery recently acted as legal counsel for the province of Quebec in connection with the acquisition by Hecla Mining Company (“Hecla”) of Aurizon Mines Ltd. (“Aurizon”). The transaction is valued at Cdn$796 million. Hecla was also represented in Canada by Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP.
Under the terms of the transaction, which was dealt with as a merger with a Hecla subsidiary under U.S. legislation, Hecla purchased all of the issued and outstanding common shares of Aurizon for an aggregate consideration of approximately Cdn$514 million and 56,997,790 common shares of Hecla.
The transaction took the form of a plan of arrangement and was carried out in the wake of a struggle for control initiated by an unsolicited takeover bid for Aurizon launched by Alamos Gold Inc. on January 14, 2013.
The Lavery team was made up of Michel Blouin, Sébastien Vézina, Maxime Bergeron and René Branchaud (mining law and securities), Nicole Messier (mining rights and real estate), David Eramian, Sive Burns and Ariana Lisio (M&A), Sophie Prégent (environmental and Aboriginal law) and Darina Bashilova (financing).
Through this acquisition, Hecla becomes the owner of the Casa Berardi mine, located near the territory covered by the Plan Nord, which is expected to produce between 125,000 to 130,000 ounces of gold in 2013. With the shaft deepening project and the future development of an open pit mine, the mine is expected to operate for more than 10 years. The acquisition also includes several exploration and pre-development projects in Quebec that may contribute to increase production in the future.
Hecla, based in Coeur d’Alene in Idaho, is a leading low-cost U.S. silver producer with operating mines in Alaska and Idaho, and is a growing gold producer with an operating mine in Quebec, Canada.