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Pan American And Minefinders Announce Final Court Approval For Merger

Pan American Silver Corp. (TSE:PAA) and Minefinders Corp. (TSE:MFL) jointly said Wednesday that the Ontario Superior Court of Justice has approved the merger of the two miners.

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice issued a final order approving the previously announced plan of arrangement between Minefinders and Pan American under the Business Corporations Act.

On March 26, both Minefinders and Pan American obtained required levels of approval of their respective security holders at their special meetings held in connection with the arrangement.

Under the $1.5 billion deal, Minefinders investors can opt for 55 cents of a Pan American share as well as $1.84 in cash, or 62.35 cents a share, or just $15.60 in cash.

Upon completion of the offer, existing Minefinders shareholders will own approximately 33 percent of Pan American, on a fully-diluted basis.

The combined company, which will retain the Pan American Silver name, will have a major mineral reserve base consisting of 350 million ounces of proven and probable silver mineral reserves and 3.0 million ounces of proven and probable gold mineral reserves.

Additional measured and indicated mineral resources amount to 742 million ounces of silver and 2.0 million ounces of gold, with inferred mineral resources of 265 million ounces of silver and 1.4 million ounces of gold, as of the end of December 2010.

The new entity will consist of eight operating mines and an extensive portfolio of development and exploration projects in jurisdictions across the Americas, where Pan American presently operates.

Based on expected silver production in 2011, approximately 52 percent of combined production will be from mines in Mexico, 21 percent from Peru, 15 percent from Argentina and 12 percent from Bolivia.

Minefinders produced about 3.6 million ounces of silver in 2011 and about 74,000 ounces of gold, with annual sales of $241 million, beating its own production forecasts. In 2010, the company had sales of $92.9 million.

The company's flagship Dolores mine is located in the Sierra Madre Occidental Range of northern Mexico. The Dolores mine has a well-defined deposit and an open-pit mine life of 16 years. Measured and indicated reserves at Dolores amount to 2.6 million ounces of gold and 139.5 million ounces of silver.

The company's other mining assets are the La Bolsa and La Virginia projects as well as exploration properties at Planchas de Plata in Sonora, northern Mexico, and the adjacent Real Viejo silver project.

Pan American has seven silver mines in Peru, Mexico, Argentina and Bolivia, as well as the Navidad project in Argentina, one of the largest undeveloped silver deposits in the world. It also has a joint venture with Orko Silver (CVE:OK) in the La Preciosa silver project in Mexico.