The Joint Venture (JV) between mining giant’s Barrick Gold and AngloGold Ashanti last week announced the sale of their interest in the legendary Morila gold mine in Mali. The JV sold the mine to Firefinch, previously known as Mali Lithium for about USD28.8-million cash. The state of Mali continues to hold the remaining 20%.
According to Barrick CEO and president Mark Bristow, all Morila’s employees had been re-employed by Firefinch. Bristow says that the transaction would benefit the mine’s Malian stakeholders by giving Firefinch the opportunity to extend its life by accessing satellite resources and adapting the infrastructure. The mine had been scheduled for closure in 2021.
Barrick has been operating Morila and the sale is in line with its policy of selling non-core assets to concentrate on Tier One mines. Tier One mines are those with the capacity to produce at least 500 000 ounces of gold annually for more than 10 years in the lower half of the industry’s cost curve. Bristow says that Barrick remained committed to its partnership with Mali, where it owns and operates the Tier One Loulo-Gounkoto gold complex.
The discovery and development of Morila served as the springboard for the Barrick legacy company Randgold Resources’ expansion into Africa. Since it went into production in October 2000 it has produced 6.9 million ounces of gold and paid more than USD2.5-billion to its stakeholders in the form of dividends and taxes. Morila transitioned to a stockpile treatment operation in 2009 and began processing tailings in 2013.