The gold sector’s largest-ever takeover has been cemented after shareholders of Australia’s Newcrest Mining Ltd. gave the final seal of approval for U.S. giant Newmont Corp. to close the transaction valued at near US$15 billion.

Shareholders voted on Friday to greenlight Newmont’s acquisition of the Melbourne-based company, which is Australia’s biggest gold miner, Newcrest said in a statement Friday. The deal will consolidate Newmont’s position as the world’s top producer of bullion. 

The approval follows an almost unanimous vote on the deal from Newmont shareholders earlier this week. Having secured all necessary regulatory approvals from the Australian government, the takeover faces one last confirmation at a court hearing scheduled for next week.

The takeover spotlights a new era in which miners are showing increased appetite for dealmaking across the sector, with gold producers in particular struggling with stagnant output, higher operating costs and harder-to-mine resources, while new deposits are more difficult to find.

Absorbing Newcrest into Newmont will add to the Denver-based company’s already hefty collection of assets, with mines sprawling across the Americas, Africa, Australia and Papua New Guinea. The acquisition comes at a time of historically elevated gold prices, and will help extend Newmont’s lead over other bullion mining rivals like Barrick Gold Corp.

The takeover also offers Newmont greater exposure to copper — a metal where demand is expected to outpace supply as the transition away from fossil fuels gathers pace.

About 85 per cent of Newcrest shareholders were in favor of the takeover, the statement said. The near-$15 billion figure includes the dividend to be paid by Newcrest and excludes debt.