Asante Gold to bid for Newmont’s Akyem mine

Asante’s plan follows calls from government for local ownership of Akyem, after Denver-based Newmont launched a process to divest the asset earlier this year.

Newmont Corp.’s Akyem gold mine is a target for Ghana-focused producer Asante Gold Corp., which plans to bid for the asset against potential Chinese buyers this month.

“We expect to be part of this process,” Asante chief executive officer Dave Anthony said in an interview Tuesday. “We look at Akyem as being a mine that we’re a natural owner for.”

Asante’s plan follows calls from Ghana’s government for local ownership of Akyem, after Denver-based Newmont launched a process to divest the asset earlier this year.

President Nana Akufo-Addo said recently that the country is in talks with Newmont to give priority to Ghanaian investors and “ensure that our mineral resources better benefit the Ghanaian people.”

Asante, which owns two gold mines and six projects in Ghana, is headquartered in Vancouver but says that almost half its investors are from Ghana, including two state-owned sovereign wealth funds.

“We have a lot of government support and local financial support,” said Anthony, who added that the company is now in the process of determining its offer. “We see the opportunity to get significant support in Ghana to own it.”

Asante’s top two individual shareholders are based in the UAE. One is a wealth fund belonging to the Fujairah emirate, while the other – Emiral Resources – was founded by Boris Ivanov, who once headed the international unit of Russia’s Gazprom.

The company also has backing from Ghana’s Minerals Income Investment Fund, a government-owned fund that previously backed Asante’s acquisition of a local Kinross Gold Corp. mine in 2022.

“For us, co-investing in an asset such as the Akyem mine will be a valuable addition to our portfolio, as we aim to become Africa’s biggest sovereign minerals fund,” said MIIF chief investment officer Bubune Kofi Sorkpor in an email to Bloomberg News.

The Akyem sale has also drawn interest from Chinese bidders including Shandong Gold Mining Co., Zijin Mining Group Co. and Chifeng Jilong Gold Mining Co. Australian miner Perseus Mining Ltd. said in February it too would consider the asset.

Newmont did not respond to requests for comment.

Opening bids for the mine, which Anthony said are due by the end April, come amid soaring prices for bullion.

Akyem produced 420,000 ounces of gold a year at the end of 2022, according to Newmont, the world’s largest gold producer. The precious metal surged to a fresh record on Tuesday and has rallied about 14% this year.

The sale is part of Newmont’s effort to raise $2 billion in cash through divestitures in the wake of its acquisition of Newcrest Mining Ltd. in November. On top of Akyem, Newmont also wants to sell four gold mines in North America and one in Australia.


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