The proposed deal fits Vancouver-based Quadra's strategy of gradually building its copper production by shopping for assets too small to interest giants of the mining world, Quadra chief executive officer Paul Blythe said yesterday.

Equatorial's main asset is a 39-per-cent stake in a Chilean company that owns and operates the El Tosoro mine, a Chilean copper project 28 kilometres from Quadra's Sierra Gorda exploration project.

Currently, Quadra has one operating mine, Robinson, in Nevada. The company, which has a market value of about $298-million, produced 126.2 million pounds of copper and 81,000 ounces of gold last year.

Under terms of the offer, Quadra would pay $9.26 Australian ($7.87 Canadian) a share in a bid for all of Equatorial's shares outstanding. Equatorial has been up for auction since April, when its majority shareholder -- AMP Life Ltd., an Australian insurance company -- made an offer of $7 (Australian) a share for the shares of Equatorial it did not already own.

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