BHP subsidiary BHP Lonsdale Investments has started discussions with Australia’s Wyloo Metals as it seeks support for its Noront Resources takeover bid.

The two firms have been under a bidding war to acquire the Canadian nickel producer amid surging demand for the battery metal, which is used in electric vehicles (EVs).

Last month, BHP increased its all-cash takeover offer from $0.44 (C$0.55) to $0.60 (C$0.75) per share for the Canadian nickel producer Noront.

The offer from BHP surpassed Wyloo’s offer, of $0.56 (C$0.70) per share, announced earlier the same month.

BHP also extended its offer’s initial expiry date from 9 November 2021 to 16 November 2021.

In a press statement, BHP said: “BHP and Wyloo Metals have engaged in initial conversations and are considering a mutually beneficial arrangement regarding the acquisition of Noront by BHP.

“There is no assurance that any agreement will be reached between BHP and Wyloo Metals.”

Noront Resources is engaged in developing high-grade Eagle’s Nest nickel, copper, platinum, palladium and chromite deposits, including Black Thor, Blackbird, and Big Daddy.

These assets are situated in Ontario’s James Bay Lowlands in The Ring of Fire, an emerging metals camp.

Commenting on BHP’s $0.60 (C$0.75) per share offer, Noront CEO Alan Coutts said at that time: “Noront’s board of directors, determined that BHP’s improved offer is in the best interests of the company and its shareholders and recommends Noront shareholders tender their shares to the BHP offer.”