The South African miner only received 10.8% of Gold Fields' shares in its early settlement offer. And they can't be voted. Gold Fields might get away with its Iamgold transaction. But even if it doesn't, Harmony's offer looks likely to fall short.
It is a good time to be miner, especially one with mediocre assets. Xstrata would like to grow, but does not want to buy at the peak. It is starting to act as if it thinks the good times will last. But don't imagine that the mining group's expansionary management has abandoned acquisition ambitions. The buyback is reversible. And Xstrata thinks the commodity price boom will endure. So it's probably only a matter of time before it's sniffing out another big deal.