(Reuters) – Mining billionaire Andrew Forrest has picked up a 5.3% stake in Western Areas, a filing showed on Friday, a day after IGO Ltd confirmed it was in early talks to buy the Australian nickel producer.
Forrest's move follows a takeover attempt by his Wyloo Metals for Canadian nickel-copper miner Noront Resources Ltd where he's up against mining giant BHP Group.
The increasing number of deals for nickel assets underscore the race to secure supply of key battery metals that go into electric vehicles, as the world doubles down on greener modes of transport.
The filing from Western Areas shows Wyloo Metals and Tattarang, Forrest's investment companies, crossed the 5% disclosure-mark on Thursday.
Wyloo and Tattarang did not immediately respond to a request for comment on their intentions with the stake.
Shares of Western Areas climbed 8.6% on Friday, adding to a near 13% rise a day earlier when preliminary talks between the IGO and the Perth-based company were confirmed. IGO, meanwhile, fell 4.8%.
(Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)