Cliffs Natural Resources has signed an agreement with Consolidated Thompson Iron Mines to acquire all of Consolidated Thompson’s common shares for C$4.9bn (US$4.96bn) at C$17.25 a share.

The acquisition is expected to enhance Cliffs’ profile as one of the largest mining and natural resources companies in North America, with significant exposure to Asia, according to the company.

Post-acquisition, Cliffs’ global mine portfolio will include ten iron ore facilities, six coal mines and a pre-feasibility chrome-development project across North America, South America and Australia.

Cliffs Resources chairman, president and CEO Joseph Carrabba said the acquisition will combine a low-operating risk profile with access to high-growth global markets and broaden its exposure to seaborne iron ore prices.