AngloGold and Barrick Gold to offload stakes in Mali’s Morilla Gold Mine

MALI Gold mining giants, AngloGold Ashanti and Barrick Gold have made public their plans to sell their effective 80% stake in the Morila Gold Mine in Mali to Australia based Mali Lithium.

The decision to offload their stakes at the mineral mine which is popularly known as Morilla the Gorilla comes against a backdrop of political crisis occasioned by a military coup that ended the reign of a democratically elected government.

Mali’s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita resigned and dissolved parliament earlier in August, hours after soldiers held him at gunpoint and seized power in a coup.

The crisis caused the closure of the country’s borders, in a nation where miners typically fly their gold out to be refined.

It also raised the risk of further political turmoil in Mali, which, in common with other countries in the region, faces a growing threat from Islamist militants.

According to a report by Reuters, Mali Lithium will buy the firm that holds the two miners’ stakes in the mine for a fee estimated at between $22 million and $27 million.

Both miners said the deal would allow them to focus their capital elsewhere, extend the life of the mine and “benefit in-country stakeholders.

Barrick Gold said the mine, known in its heyday as “Morila the Gorilla”, had produced 6.9 million ounces of gold, and was forecast to close in 2021.

The mine is believed to have generated more than $2.5 billion for its stakeholders in taxes and dividends, and served as its legacy as BarrickGold’s  base for expansion elsewhere in Africa.

Mali Lithium said it was excited and privileged to acquire one of “West Africa’s great gold mines” adding that it wants to ramp up operations at the mine as soon as possible.

Reuters reports that the deal remains subject to Mali Lithium finding funding and the government of Mali allowing it to go through.

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