Barrick Gold and AngloGold Ashanti have agreed to sell their 80% interest in the Morila gold mine in Mali to Mali Lithium.

The mine was sold for an amount between $22 million and $27 million. The sale is subject to certain conditions, including the acknowledgement of the transaction by the state of Mali, which holds the remaining 20% of the Morila gold mine.

Barrick said the decision of the current shareholders to sell their stakes in Morila, which it operates, offered the potential for the mine to continue under a new ownership structure which would bring access to additional resources and a different approach to how the infrastructure is used to extend the life of operations. This would allow Barrick to focus on its strategy of discovering, developing, owning and operating Tier One1 assets. The parties are looking to conclude of the deal before end of October 2020.

The discovery and development of Morila, which poured its first gold in October 2000, laid the foundation for Barrick legacy company Randgold Resources’ growth into one of the world’s leading gold miners.

Morila Gold Mine halted mining operations in 2019, and is currently processing only ore stockpiles. It produced 27 000oz of gold in 2019. Willem Jacobs, Barrick’s chief operating officer for Africa and the Middle East, said the proposed acquisition by Mali Lithium offered an opportunity for a new owner to extend the life of the mine by utilising the existing infrastructure, applying different planning and evaluation criteria, and accessing additional satellite resources which would continue to benefit Morila’s in-country stakeholders.

Also known as ‘Morila the Gorilla’, the mine produced 6.9 million ounces of gold and paid more than $2.5 billion to its stakeholders in the form of taxes and dividends. It served as the base for Randgold’s expansion into Africa, among other things through the development of Loulo-Gounkoto in Mali and Kibali in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Both these mines are now part of Barrick’s Tier One portfolio.

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