- Anglo and government clash in South Africa
- Anglo announces mine closures resulting in thousands of job losses in its South African operations. In response the president threatened to review Anglo’s mining licenses, trying to force the company to keep the mines open. Mark Cutifani, Anglo’s new CEO, reacted with fierce criticism of the government’s attitude.
- Mining companies in South Africa see a shift of union membership from the moderate NUM to the more radical Amcu, leading up to further wage negotiations this year.
- Sources: Financial Times; Reuters; Financial Times 2
- Vale and government clash in Argentina
- Vale’s $6bln Rio Colorado potash project in the Mendoza project of Argentina is rumored to be delayed by up to 3 years, mainly driven by large rail investments. Vale announced it is reviewing the project economics and has therefore extended the holiday of the workers, but the company denies the project has been suspended.
- The governor of the province told media that Vale has asked for delay of a sales tax implementation from construction to extraction phase, and argues that this would imply a tax break of $1.5-2.0bln. He also stressed that the government will make sure the project moves forward irrespective of Vale’s plans.
- Sources: Vale press release; Financial Times; Mineweb
Trends & Implications:
- The business environment for mining in South Africa remains very unstable. Not only the government’s ambition to get as much revenue out of mining as possible, resulting in top decile effective taxes, but also the radical approach of unions fighting to increase membership levels, create a situation in which long-term planning for any mining company in the country is almost impossible.
- The business environment in Argentina has deteriorated quickly and appears to move into the direction of nationalization of business quickly. The government tries to get projects going in an attempt to stimulate the economy, but at the same time makes it impossible for companies to repatriate profits from those projects in an attempt to limit inflation. As a result there is no incentive for any foreign company to invest in the country for any short to mid-term gains. In the Rio Colorado case: A delay of the effect of sales tax to the extraction phase is unlikely to reduce tax paid by Vale by $1.5bln, as the company only starts selling its product in large quantities in that extraction phase.
2013 | Wilfred Visser | thebusinessofmining.com
“One of the world’s most prospective gold companies, Andean Resources Ltd., has become the subject of a bidding war between two Vancouver-based global gold majors. Andean, based in Australia, has rocketed to international industry prominence in the past two years through the rapid development of its high-grade, low-cost Cerro Negro gold project in Argentina.
Goldcorp Inc. and Andean said Friday they had reached an agreement for Goldcorp to acquire all Andean shares through a combination of shares or cash that values Andean at 3.6 billion Canadian dollars (US$3.4 billion). Under this arrangement, each common share of Andean will be exchanged for either 0.14 shares of Goldcorp or a cash payment of C$6.50/share, subject to an aggregate maximum cash consideration of C$1 billion. “
Source: Wall Street Journal, September 3, 2010
- Cerro Negro contains 2.1 million ounces of gold and 20.6 million ounces of silver in probable reserves. At capacity of 285 thousand ounces this will result in a mine life of only 7 years.
- Average cost of production is projected to be $60 per ounce, resulting in a production margin of over 90%.
- Goldcorp currently offers $3.4bln, while Eldorado’s offer priced about 2% lower was rejected 2 weeks ago. Eldorado has made a new offer today.
- Goldcorps shares dropped slightly less than Eldorado shares upon the offers, indicating investors believe Goldcorp to be able to achieve more synergies. Although Eldorado is growing fast and building a strong portfolio of assets, the geographic and operational variance between the projects hinders the realization of synergies.
- The gold business is experiencing a boom and a strong increase in M&A activity due to the high price levels. Exploration costs for gold deposits account for nearly half of the total global exploration costs.
©2010 | Wilfred Visser | thebusinessofmining.com