Barrick Gold Corp has completed the sale of a 50% interest in the Veladero mine in San Juan province, Argentina to Shandong Gold Mining Co for $960 million. The formation of a 50/50 joint venture at Veladero is the first of three steps outlined in a strategic cooperation agreement signed by Barrick and Shandong Gold Group Co on April 6.
In keeping with the second step in the agreement, the two companies have also formed a working group to explore the joint development of the Pascua-Lama deposit. As a third step, Barrick and Shandong will evaluate additional investment opportunities on the highly prospective El Indio Gold Belt on the border of Argentina and Chile.
Proceeds from the sale of 50% of Veladero will be used primarily to reduce debt.
Veladero mine is located in the highly prospective Frontera District. The property is located at elevations of 4,000 to 4,850 m above sea level, some 374 km northwest of the city of San Juan. It is a conventional open-pit operation where ore is crushed by a two-stage crushing process and transported via overland conveyor and trucks to the leach pad area. Run-of-mine ore is trucked directly to the valley-fill leach pad.
Veladero produced 544,000 oz of gold in 2016, at a cost of sales of $872/oz, and all-in sustaining costs of $769/oz. Proven and Probable mineral reserves as of December 31, 2016, were 6.7 Moz of gold2 (252 Mt, grading 0.83 g/t Au).
Gold production in 2017 is expected to be 630,000-730,000 oz (100% basis), at a cost of sales of $740-$790/oz, and all-in sustaining costs of $890-$990/oz.
CIBC World Markets acted as financial advisor to Barrick, Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg acted as legal counsel.
Headquartered in Jinan, Shandong province, China, Shandong Gold Group was founded in 1996 and today has 23,000 employees. Shandong Gold Mining Co was listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange in 2003. Shandong Gold Group produced approximately 1.2 Moz of gold in 2016, and is the only mining company in China to be named a ‘National Environmentally Friendly Enterprise’ by the Chinese government.