Newcrest expected to sell more mine assets

Newcrest Mining may be selling off more assets, soon after its controversial deal with the newly merged company comprising of Catalpa and Conquest.

It is predicted that Newcrest’s Bonikro operation in the Ivory Coast will be the next to be sold off.

The merger between Conquest and Catalpa earlier in the week was reportedly orchestrated by Newcrest, which will become the biggest shareholder in the company

Analysts yesterday said it was “likely” the company would sell off Bonikro, which it acquired when it bought a $10 billion stake in Lihir Gold, The Australian reported.

Currently, the mine produces about 86 thousand gold per annum.
This represents about 3 per cent of Newcrest’s group production, less than the 5 per cent Newcrest contributed to its “non core” Mount Rawdon and Cracow mine it intends to sell off.

RBS analyst Sam Berridge told The Australian this made Bonikro "effectively an exploration play" adding that Newcrests’s
preference for exploration expenditure lied in Papua New Guinea.
"Newcrest is also likely to divest its Bonikro operation and surrounding exploration assets once the political situation in the Ivory Coast stabilises," he said.

"Perseus Mining is an obvious fit for Newcrests’s Ivory Coast assets given Perseus’s regional focus."

Perseus has numerous tenements in the northern Ivory Coast, mainly focused in the African nation on the Tengrela gold project.

Macquarie analyst Lee Bowers said the move by Newcrest on Bonikro would allow the miner to clean up its portfolio and concentrate on benefiting from the asset.

"While it appears Newcrest could have bargained harder, the discount…reflects the fact that Newcrest has maintained effective control without having to worry about day to day management," Berridge told The Australian.

"The deal makes sense and is a positive move."

Image: The West Australian

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