Barrick Gold has entered into a support agreement to acquire all issued and outstanding common shares of Equinox Minerals in a takeover offer valued at C$7.3bn (US$7.6bn).

Equinox assets include the 100% owned Lumwana mine in Zambia and the 70% owned Jabal Sayid development project in Saudi Arabia.

Rio Tinto subsidiary Simfer has signed a settlement agreement with The Government of Guinea to secure the southern concession of the Simandou project in the country.

Under the terms of agreement, Simfer will pay $700m to the Guinean Public Treasury upon promulgation of presidential decrees granting its mining concession, known as blocks 3 and 4, and the approval of the proposed Chalco and Rio Tinto Simandou joint venture.

Gold One has offered $250m in cash to acquire Rand Uranium, to boost its gold production to 300,000oz a year.

Rand Uranium is an established shallow gold operation, which produced 163,000oz of gold in 2010 and fits Gold One’s stated strategy of mining shallow, low-technical-risk gold resources.

Meanwhile, Petaquilla Minerals has received conditional approval by the Toronto Stock Exchange for the acquisition of Iberian Resources for a total value of about $41m.

IBERIAN Resources owns 100% of the Lomero Poyatos mine in Spain through its wholly owned subsidiary Corporacion de Recursos Iberia SL Lomero Poyatos.

Iberian also owns several other exploration licenses in Iberia through its Spanish and Portuguese subsidiaries and soon expects to receive a mining license for its Banjas concession in Portugal.

China Yunnan Copper Australia has signed two joint venture option agreements with Rio Tinto to explore the Palmani and Caramasa copper and molybdenum prospects in northern Chile.

China Yunnan will pay $10m for Palmani prospect over five years to earn a 40% interest, and will have a second option to spend $15m over three years to gain a further 20% stake.

Norilsk Nickel is planning to develop copper-nickel deposits in the Voronezh region nickel areas of Russia.

According to the company’s geological exploration programme, R2.7bn ($96m) will be invested in the exploration of the Voronezh region, including the Elansk and Elkinsk ore occurrences.

Upon completion of exploration, the firm may construct ore mining and processing plants at Elansk and Elkinsk ore occurrences.