Talks on Iamgold Corp’s possible purchase of AngloGold Ashanti Ltd’s stakes in two gold mines in Mali are moving along well but there is no urgency to do a deal, AngloGold’s chief executive has said. Canadian-based Iamgold and South African-based AngloGold each own 41 percent of the Sadiola mine in southwestern Mali and 40 percent of the nearby Yatela mine. Under pressure to reduce debt, Anglo- Gold, the world’s third-biggest gold producer, in April announced plans to dispose of its stakes in Sadiola and Yatela.
“We have made good progress but … we are not bound by any particular time line. There is no real urgency,” Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan, who is known as Venkat, said in an interview. Earlier, AngloGold announced the sale of a Colorado-based gold mine for $820 million, helping it get most of the way to its goal of reducing its debt load by at least $1 billion. Weaker oil prices coupled with a softer South African rand, which reduces local costs relative to the U.S. dollars the company gets for its gold, have helped Anglo- Gold cut costs.
“As far as we are concerned the balance sheet fix is done,” Venkat said. He said AngloGold was talking exclusively to Iamgold on selling its Mali mine stakes. AngloGold operates both mines, and the government of Mali owns the remaining stakes in them. A deal with Iamgold would involve three considerations, namely, the capital that AngloGold will not spend on an expansion that is required at the Sadiola mine; closure costs for Yatela, which is near the end of its life; and cash for the assets, Venkat said.