Thursday, March 22, 2012

Gold Fields secures 40% stake in Philippines project

JOHANNESBURG – The world’s fourth-largest bullion producer, Gold Fields, has exercised its 40% option in the undeveloped gold-copper Far Southeast project in the Philippines, the miner said on Thursday.

The Johannesburg- and New York-listed firm acquired the interest from private holding company Liberty Express Assets, after making a $110-million down payment.

It retained a second option to a further 20%, which it could buy from Philippine-listed Lepanto Consolidated Mining.

In September 2010, Gold Fields entered into two option agreements with Lepanto, 60% owner of Far Southeast, and Liberty, 40% owner of the project, granting the gold producer an option to acquire a 60% interest for a total consideration of $340-million.

The company said it had brought forward its decision to exercise its 40% option in the Far Southeast project, owing to encouraging exploration results and owing to the Philippine authorities being expected to grant the foreign company permission to own a majority stake in the project in the second quarter of this year.

“The positive drilling results have given us the confidence to show our commitment to the project and the Philippines,” CEO Nick Holland said in a statement.

On the Gold Fields website, the company describes the Far Southeast project as one of its “best greenfields growth opportunities”.

The project is located in an existing mining camp and is near two other mines historically operated by Lepanto, one of which is currently in production.

Gold Fields is aiming to produce some 60% of its gold from mines outside South Africa by 2015.

Edited by: Mariaan Webb