Australian mineral exploration company Azure Minerals has turned down a takeover bid of A$901m ($583.4m) from Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile (SQM), a Chilean chemicals company.

SQM held confidential negotiations and offered a non-binding and highly conditional offer of A$2.31 per share.

Azure rejected the proposal in light of the increasing potential of its Andover project.

The company also highlighted that its stock price exceeded the offer price, after the recent release of lithium results and exploration targets, attaining an intraday high of $2.96 on 8 August.

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By GlobalData

SQM already holds a 19.99% interest in Azure, making it the largest shareholder in the company, and continues to support it in defining the lithium potential at its Andover project in Australia.

Presently, it is targeting a maiden mineral resource estimation at Andover by the first quarter of next year.

Andover is a nickel-copper-cobalt project in the West Pilbara region of Western Australia. Covering 70km², the project is 60% owned by Azure while the remaining 40% is owned by Creasy Group.

Earlier this month, lithium mineralisation was found in the Andover project. The company reported between 100 and 240 million tonnes of grading at 1.0–1.5% of lithium oxide across three target areas.

The target areas covered under the exploration target come under the Andover pegmatite swarm that extends over an area of 9km.

Lithium mineralisation at the target areas is primarily contained within the spodumene in the pegmatites.