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Not only does Michael Curran see possible competing bids showing up for Meridian Gold Inc., but he also points out that Xstrata PLC could be interested in Northern Orion Resources Inc., which plans to merge with Yamana Gold Inc. to make an unsolicited bid for Meridian. The RBC Dominion Securities analyst has initial positive and negative reactions to the deal. For Meridian, he figures the transaction would position the company as part of one of the largest Tier 2 producers, with several development projects slated for construction over the next few years, replacing his earlier concern about a lack of growth at Meridian. But "accepting the offer would shift Meridian's asset base somewhat from a pure precious metal play... to a platform with significant base metal exposure," including copper and some molybdenum. For Yamana, pulling the deal off would establish the company as one of the leaders in mining in South America. It would also increase the company's non-gold exposure, by adding copper, silver, and some molybdenum to its asset base. On the TSX Thursday morning, Meridian is changing hands at $30.79, up $4.58 or 17 per cent; Yamana, down 86 cents or 6.6 per cent to $12.16; and Northern Orion, up 37 cents or 6.4 per cent to $6.20.

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