Barrick Gold Corporation - President & CEO, Mark Bristow
President & CEO, Mark Bristow
Source: CNBC
  • Barrick Gold (ABX) and AngloGold Ashanti have closed the sale of their collective stake in the Morila gold mine in Mali to ASX-listed Firefinch Limited
  • Formerly Mali Lithium Limited, Firefinch paid US$28.8 million (C$37.54 million) for the 80 per cent stake
  • Morila is wholly owned by Société des Mines de Morila SA, in which Barrick and AngloGold each hold a 40 per cent stake, while the remaining 20 per cent is held by the state of Mali
  • Firefinch intends to carry out infill and extension drilling at the mine, with a view to potentially resuming mining activities at satellite deposits
  • Barrick Gold is currently up 0.4 per cent to C$34.99 per share

Barrick Gold (ABX) and AngloGold Ashanti have sold their collective stake in the Morila gold mine in Mali to ASX-listed Firefinch.

Formerly Mali Lithium Limited, Firefinch paid a total of US$28.8 million (C$37.54 million) for an 80 per cent stake in Société des Mines de Morila SA, which wholly owns the mine.

Barrick and AngloGold previously each held a 40 per cent interest in Société des Mines de Morila SA, while the state of Mali will continue to hold the remaining 20 per cent.

Known as “Morila the Gorilla” in its heyday, the mine poured its first gold in 2000 and has to date produced roughly 6.9 million ounces of gold, while issuing more than US$2.5 billion (C$3.26 billion) to its stakeholders in the form of taxes and dividends.

In 2009, the Morila mine transitioned to a stockpile treatment operation and began processing tailings in 2013 ahead of a forecast closure in 2021. However, Firefinch now intends to carry out infill and extension drilling at the mine and, if viable, ramp up production through to the restart of mining at satellite deposits.

Mark Bristow, President and CEO of Barrick, noted in today’s release that all workers at Morila have been re-employed by Firefinch and that the sale would “benefit the mine’s Malian stakeholders by giving Firefinch the opportunity to extend its life.”

The sale of the mine, at least from Barrick’s perspective, is in line with its policy of selling non-core assets in an effort to place a greater focus on “Tier One” mines – those with the ability to produce at least 500,000 ounces of gold annually for more than 10 years.

With the transaction now complete, Mark added that Barrick remains “committed to its partnership with Mali, where it owns and operates the Tier One Loulo-Gounkoto gold complex.”

Barrick Gold is currently up 0.4 per cent to C$34.99 per share at 9:35am EST.

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