Deal talks for joint ventures, offtake agreements, and commencement and conclusion of mergers and acquisitions dominated activity in the AiM mining sector in the third quarter of 2009, according to Ernst & Young’s Mining Eye Q3 2009 report.

Deals of such nature are likely to continue until the end of the year as companies work to gain competitiveness, attain cost synergies and secure projects.

Major mining companies are looking to acquire smaller miners with similar projects or skills in order to consolidate their position in the sector.

Examples include Aquarius Platinum and Gold Fields, which have concluded acquisitions of Ridge Mining and Glencar Mining respectively, while Moto Goldmines has agreed to an offer from Randgold Resources in combination with AngloGold Ashanti.

Eurasian Natural Resources is also in negotiations with African Metals and CAMEC.

Several AIM miners such as VANE Minerals and North River Resources are also trying to increase their market share by proposing minor takeovers at the project level.

VANE Minerals purchased uranium exploration assets that will increase and diversify its geographic range of exploration targets.

North River Resources joined forces with Kalahari Minerals to takeover and then jointly develop Kalahari’s gold and base metal assets.

Escalating demand for mineral resources is also triggering China’s more aggressive participation in the sector.

The East China Mineral Exploration and Development Bureau’s subsidiary has made a proposal for a subscription of Weatherly International’s shares to garner nearly £16m for development of the latter’s copper mining and smelting work.