TSX- and NYSE-listed Barrick Gold, together with JSE- and NYSE-listed AngloGold Ashanti, on November 10 concluded the sale of their combined 80% interest in Morila Gold to ASX-listed Firefinch for $28.8-million.
The Mali government will continue to hold the remaining 20% stake in the Morila gold mine.
Firefinch, formerly Mali Lithium, has retained all the employees of the Morila mine and intends on extending the mine’s life by accessing satellite resources and adapting the infrastructure of the mine accordingly.
The mine had been scheduled for closure in 2021.
Barrick had been the operator of the mine and says the sale was in line with its policy of selling noncore assets. The company remains the owner and operator of the Loulo-Gounkoto gold complex, in Mali.
AngloGold Ashanti says the sale is aligned to its strategic objective of streamlining its portfolio to focus its capital allocation on assets with a longer life and lower costs.
Since the Morila mine's going into production in 2000, it produced almost seven-million ounces of gold and paid more than $2.5-billion in dividends and taxes.
Morila then transitioned to a stockpile treatment operation in 2009 and began processing tailings in 2013.
The net proceeds to AngloGold Ashanti’s account will be $3.6-million taking into consideration shareholder loans and intercompany payables.
Meanwhile, the sale happens amid political uncertainty in Mali, as the country is still reeling from a recent coup, which was the second coup in less than ten years.