Hancock Prospecting (Pty) Ltd, controlled by Australian billionaire iron ore magnate Gina Rinehart, on Tuesday said it was investing $300 million (245 million pounds) in British fertiliser business Sirius Minerals Plc SSX.L as it moves deeper into agriculture.
Hancock, which is also in a joint $278 million bid with China’s Shanghai CRED Real Estate for Australia’s biggest cattle empire, S. Kidman & Co, said Sirius could become one of the world’s leading producers of multi-nutrient fertiliser and could have a life of 100 years.
“This fits with my approach of investing in strategic areas for the long term, and I hope the product is of assistance to many Australian farmers,” Rinehart said in a statement.
Sirius Chief Executive Chris Fraser welcomed Hancock’s investment, saying it will bring mining and agricultural sector expertise to the operation.
The company is developing a polyhalite project in North Yorkshire in the United Kingdom.
Polyhalite is a naturally occurring mineral containing four of the six nutrients key to plant growth – potassium, sulphur, magnesium and calcium.
Rinehart is attempting to persuade the Kidman cattle empire that her offer remains superior after a group of four wealthy graziers, known as BBHO, made a A$386 million ($294 million) bid for Kidman.