Canada-based Pan American Silver Corp has agreed to acquire Minefinders Corporation for a total consideration of C$1.50bn (US$1.48bn).

Pan American will acquire all of the issued and outstanding common shares of Minefinders by way of a plan of arrangement. Existing Minefinders shareholders will own approximately 33% of Pan American on a fully-diluted basis, once the transaction is complete.

Pan American President and CEO Geoff Burns said that the acquisition is consistent with Pan American’s vision to become the largest, low-cost primary producer of silver in the world. “Minefinders also has significant expansion potential and exceptional exploration opportunities at Dolores and a number of other promising early-stage properties,” he added.

The transaction is expected to be complete by the end of March 2012.

Canada-based Minefinders owns the Dolores mine in northern Mexico, along with other exploration properties. The company produced about 3.6 million ounces of silver and 74,000 ounces of gold last year. Pan American will have eight operating mines after the takeover is complete, with about half its total production coming from projects in Mexico.