Newcrest has entered into agreements with TSX listed Lundin Gold to invest in Lundin Gold and farm-in to a selection of its exploration concessions in Ecuador. Lundin Gold is building the Fruta del Norte
gold mine in Ecuador which is expected to have first production by the end of 2019.1
- Newcrest to invest $250 million (at CAD$5.50 per share) to acquire a total of 57.7 million common shares representing a 27.1% interest in Lundin Gold, as part of a $400 million equity private placement financing by Lundin Gold
- Lundin Gold’s total equity raising of $400 million to be applied to fund the development of the Fruta del Norte gold mine in Ecuador
- Newcrest to have the right to appoint two directors to the Lundin Gold board, subject to certain ownership thresholds, and other rights customary for a strategic investor including anti-dilution rights
- Newcrest to have the right to appoint one of its nominated directors to the Project Advisory Committee which will oversee the development of the Fruta del Norte gold mine
- Newcrest’s ability to purchase further shares is subject to certain standstill restrictions
- A binding Exploration Heads of Agreement has been signed with Newcrest to earn up to 50% direct interest in eight separate exploration concessions in Ecuador by spending up to $20 million over five years
- Newcrest is to manage the exploration activities and the joint venture company, when formed.
Newcrest Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Sandeep Biswas, said “We see this equity investment and exploration farm-in as a strategic partnership with Lundin Gold and consistent with our strategy of securing exposure to high potential orebodies. The Fruta del Norte epithermal orebody has many similarities with our Gosowong operation and we look forward to sharing our experience with Lundin Gold to further develop this high-quality deposit. This equity investment aligns with our aspiration of being exposed to five tier 1 orebodies by 2020.”
As part of the strategic partnership, up to three Newcrest employees can be seconded to the Fruta del Norte project. The private placement has obtained the approval of the required percentage of Lundin Gold
shareholders, remains subject to customary and regulatory approvals and is expected to be completed before the end of March 2018.
Newcrest and Lundin Gold have also signed a binding Heads of Agreement to form a joint venture company to explore eight early stage concessions held by Lundin Gold. These concessions are to the north and south of Fruta del Norte, and exclude the large block of concessions surrounding the Fruta del Norte deposit. Newcrest can earn up to a 50% interest in the joint venture company by spending $20 million over a five
Under the earn-in, Newcrest is committed to spend a minimum of $4 million over the next two years and has the option to spend a further $6 million over the following 18-month period to earn an initial 25% interest.
By spending an additional $10 million within five years, Newcrest can earn a further 25% interest. Newcrest will manage the exploration activities and be the manager of the joint venture company, once formed.
Biswas said “This new joint venture forms part of our strategy of building a high-quality exploration portfolio. We are pleased to partner with Lundin Gold to explore in this prospective part of Ecuador and we see potential for new discoveries to be made through the combined
experience of both companies in exploring for epithermal gold and deep gold/copper porphyry deposits.”