AngloGold Ashanti Agrees to Acquire 100% of Sao Bento
AngloGold Ashanti (NYSE: AU) agrees to acquire 100% of Sao Bento
AngloGold Ashanti Limited (“AngloGold Ashanti”) is pleased to announce that it has entered into a letter agreement with Eldorado Gold Corporation (“Eldorado”) to acquire 100% of Eldorado’s wholly owned subsidiary, Sao Bento Gold Limited (“SBG”), which company in turn wholly owns Sao Bento Mineracao S.A. (“SBMSA”) for a consideration of US$70 million to be settled by the issue of AngloGold Ashanti shares to Eldorado (“the Transaction”).
SBMSA holds the Sao Bento Mine (“Sao Bento”), a Brazilian gold operation located in the immediate vicinity of AngloGold Ashanti’s proposed Corrego do Sitio Mine (“Corrego do Sitio”). Corrego do Sitio is part of AngloGold Ashanti Mineracao Ltda and is located in the municipality of Santa Barbara, Iron Quadrangle region of Minas Gerais State, Brazil. Sao Bento started its operations in 1986 and operated until January 2007, at which time Sao Bento’s process plant and facilities were placed on care and maintenance.
At Corrego do Sitio, AngloGold Ashanti is currently investigating the viability of exploiting the potential sulphide ore resources of the Corrego do Sitio underground ore bodies. Underground development to further access and explore these ore bodies, as well as trial mining, is in progress. Prior to the acquisition of Sao Bento, it was expected that Corrego do Sitio would produce approximately 100,000 ounces of gold annually over 14 years with production scheduled to commence in mid-2011. The acquisition of Sao Bento provides AngloGold Ashanti with the potential to double the scale, and considerably enhance the potential, of the Corrego do Sitio project. Initially it is envisaged that ore from Corrego do Sitio will be treated in the Sao Bento process plant using a refurbished and modified circuit of milling and flotation with the concentrate being transported to AngloGold Ashanti Mineracao Ltda’s Quieroz plant.
Furthermore, following a planned exploration program at Sao Bento it is expected that an expansion of the Sao Bento process plant will be implemented (currently anticipated to be implemented in 2013) that will allow for the full treatment of ore (and production of gold) from ore bodies both at Corrego do Sitio and Sao Bento at the Sao Bento process plant, at which point gold production from the expanded Corrego do Sitio project could exceed 200,000 ounces per annum. In addition, the acquisition of Sao Bento further enhances AngloGold Ashanti’s dominant position as a gold producer within Brazil’s Iron Quadrangle with the possibility of being a further consolidator within this region.
The Transaction is subject to the execution and delivery of all definitive agreements necessary to implement the Transaction and the receipt of all necessary regulatory, ministerial and other government approvals in South Africa and Brazil including the approval of the South African Reserve Bank and the SDE-CADE antitrust approval in Brazil. It is anticipated that these approvals will be obtained and that the Transaction will close early in the fourth quarter of this year. Prior to the implementation of Transaction and at Eldorado’s cost, the Villa Nova Iron Ore Project located in the Amapa District of Brazil, certain mining equipment and certain key employees of SBMSA, will be transferred out of SBMSA to Eldorado. All other assets of SBMSA will remain. In addition, prior to the implementation of the Transaction Eldorado will also settle all shareholder and third party loans outstanding to SBG.
Commenting on the Transaction, Ron Largent, Executive Vice President America’s commented, “The Sao Bento assets have the potential to double the scale, and therefore significantly enhance the potential, of the Corrego do Sitio project. As such AngloGold Ashanti’s annual gold production from Brazil could increase by some 200,000 ounces. The acquisition of Sao Bento forms an important contributor to the growth of our Brazilian operations and further enhances the position of AngloGold Ashanti in Brazil’s Iron Quadrangle.”
This communication shall not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any securities, nor shall there be any sale of securities in any jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of any such jurisdiction. This communication is not an offer of securities for sale into the United States. No offering of securities shall be made in the United States except pursuant to registration under the US Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or an exemption therefrom. Certain statements made during this communication including, without limitation, those concerning AngloGold Ashanti’s strategy to reduce its gold hedging position including the extent and effect of the hedge reduction, the economic outlook for the gold mining industry, expectations regarding gold prices, production, cash costs and other operating results, growth prospects and the outlook for AngloGold Ashanti’s operations including the completion and commencement of commercial operations of certain of AngloGold Ashanti’s exploration and production projects, and its liquidity and capital resources and expenditure, may contain certain forward looking statements regarding AngloGold Ashanti’s operations, economic performance and financial condition. Although AngloGold Ashanti believes that the expectations reflected in such forward looking statements are reasonable, no assurance can be given that such statements will prove to have been correct, Accordingly, results could differ materially from those set out in the forward looking statements as a result of, among other factors, changes in economic and market conditions, success of business and operating initiatives, changes in the regulatory environment, and other governmental actions, fluctuations in gold prices and exchange rates, and business and operational risk management. For a discussion of such factors, refer to AngloGold Ashanti’s annual report for the year ended 31 December 2007, which was distributed to stakeholders on 31 March 2008, AngloGold Ashanti undertakes no obligation to update publicly or release any revisions to these forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after today’s date or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.
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SOURCE: AngloGold Ashanti