December 22nd, 2022 | 11:21 CET
Barrick Gold, Desert Gold, Iamgold - Takeovers on the rise
Table of contents:
"[...] Our projects are at the initial, high reward exploration stage. [...]" Humphrey Hale, CEO, Managing Geologist, Carnavale Resources Ltd.
Iamgold - Acquisition completed
The Managem Group is a pan-African, fully integrated mining group that has been developing and mining a balanced portfolio of gold and energy transition metals for more than 90 years. The Company, majority owned by Al Mada, a pan-African private equity fund, has expanded its portfolio with exploration and development projects in Senegal, Mali and Guinea. The seller of the "Bambouk" assets is Iamgold, a mid-tier gold mining company operating in North America, South America and West Africa. The Company has three mines in operation, Essakane (Burkina Faso), Rosebel (Suriname) and Westwood (Canada). It is building the Côté gold project in Canada in partnership with Sumitomo Metals & Mining, which is expected to be in production in early 2024.
Under the terms of the agreements, Iamgold will receive cash payments totalling approximately USD 282 million for the Company's 90% interest in the Boto gold project in Senegal, 100% interest in the Diakha-Siribaya gold project in Mali, the Karita gold project and associated exploration properties in Guinea, and the Boto West, Senala West, Daorala early exploration properties and vested interest in the Senala option earn-in joint venture also in Senegal. The remaining 10% interest in Boto continues to be held by the Senegalese government. Boto has total indicated resources including reserves of 1.8 million ounces according to an optimized 2020 study.
Desert Gold - Neighbor cashes in
In close proximity to Desert Gold's property is Iamgold's divested Diakha-Siribaya gold project in Mali. The deposit consists of 8 contiguous exploration permits covering a total area of 596.5 sq km, located in the Kédougou-Kéniéba inlier of the West African Kraton region in western Mali along the borders with Senegal and Guinea. As of the end of 2018, total mineral resources on a 100% basis included indicated resources of 18.0 million tonnes grading 1.3 g/t Au for 744,000 ounces and inferred resources of 23.2 million tonnes grading 1.6 g/t Au for 1.2 million ounces.
The gold mineralization is hosted in highly prospective metasedimentary, volcanic and intrusive rocks of the Birimian age near the Senegal-Mali shear zone. Comparing the acquisition's valuations to Desert Gold's CAD 8.18 million market cap, the Canadians should certainly be on the big producers' docket. With the SMSZ project in Mali, Desert Gold owns one of the largest non-producing land areas in West Africa at 440 sq km. Several producing mines are located in the neighbourhood, including those of Barrick Gold, Allied Gold, Endeavour Mining, and B2Gold. The SMSZ property hosts Measured and Indicated Mineral Resources totaling approximately 1.1 million ounces. A total of more than 23 gold zones have been discovered in the area to date, which will be developed and analyzed for economic grades.
Next on the agenda is the commencement of a 35,000m drill program, which includes 10,000m of potential drilling aimed solely at resource delineation. Overall, Desert Gold intends to follow up and expand known gold zones, with plans to focus on Mogoyafara South and Gourbassi West North initially. Desert Gold believes these are the largest gold systems discovered on the SMSZ property to date. Desert Gold's shares have lost nearly 85% of their value since the 2020 high. Due to high demand, the current financing round was raised to CAD 4 million through the sale of 57,142,857 units at CAD 0.07 per unit. Proceeds from the financing will be used primarily for drilling at the Company's flagship project, SMSZ, in western Mali and for general working capital purposes.
Barrick Gold - Restructuring completed
Expansion is also moving forward at the world's second-largest gold producer. The Company announced that the restructuring of the Reko Diq project in Pakistan has been completed after the Supreme Court of Pakistan issued a favorable opinion and the necessary legislation came into effect. Reko Diq is one of the largest undeveloped copper-gold projects in the world and is 50% owned by Barrick, 25% owned by three state-owned companies, 15% owned by Balochistan Province on a fully funded basis and 10% owned by Balochistan Province on a freely carried basis.
Barrick president and CEO Mark Bristow said the completion of the legal proceedings is an important step in advancing the development of Reko Diq into a world-class long-life mine that will significantly expand the Company's strategically important copper portfolio. "We are currently updating the 2010 feasibility study and the 2011 feasibility study for the project. This should be completed by 2024, with first production targeted for 2028," Bristow said.
Barrick Gold's stock has been able to move well off its lows for the year. The next test is likely the currently still falling 200-day line at USD 18.33.
Takeover activity in the gold sector increased significantly in recent weeks. Iamgold was able to sell a portfolio near the Senegal Mali Shear Zone for USD 282 million. Desert Gold, located in the immediate vicinity of its SMSZ project, should thus become attractive as a takeover candidate. Meanwhile, Barrick Gold is pushing ahead with the expansion of its copper portfolio.
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