Reunion will initially contribute its Waiamu, Aremu, Arawini and Oko projects in Guyana, while Barrick will fund US$4.2 million on these projects, as credit for historical exploration expenditures by Reunion. Subsequent funding will be on a 50:50 basis between the partners. Going forward, if Reunion acquires any new properties in the subject area, Barrick will have 90 days to elect to include it in the alliance.
Barrick aims to harness Reunion's exploration experience in the region to get access to future discoveries with tier 1 size potential in an underexplored region that has proven scale potential. Rejean Gourde, president and CEO of Reunion Gold, was formerly SVP of the Guiana Shield division at Cambior.
"The alliance will seek to identify and acquire properties that have the potential to yield discoveries consistent with Barrick's definition of Tier 1 mines, leveraging Reunion's capabilities and proven track record in the region, combined with Barrick's experience at advancing and developing world-class assets," said Barrick president and CEO Mark Bristow in a news release.
The Guiana Shield is on the northern edge of the Amazon Craton covering over 415,000 square kilometres that comprises the shield landmass north of the Amazon River in Brazil and east of the Orinoco River in Venezuela. It is home to a number of world-class gold-copper deposits, hosts over 100 million ounces of gold and a handful of large-scale mines including Merian (Newmont Mining) and Rosebel (IAMGOLD) in Surinam, and Aurora (Guyana Goldfields) in Guyana.
The Guiana Shield is geologically similar to the West African greenstone belts as both regions were joined within the Gondwanaland supercontinent in the Late Neoproterozoic. As such, it provides prospective geology without some of the political risk, Gourde previously told Mining Journal. "The Guiana Shield was an area where there had not been much mining development compared to West Africa but with the same geology," he said.
An investor rights agreement between the companies sees Barrick have a right of first refusal if Reunion offers for sale any of the projects subject to the alliance as well as its Dorlin, Haute Mana and Boulanger projects. Reunion's has an option to acquire 75% of Dorlin, which hosts an historical resource estimate of 1.6 million ounces grading 1.1 grams a tonne of gold.
Barrick is participating in a C$15 million private placement opened by Reunion and will acquire up to 35.7 million shares at $0.15 per share for $5.4 million, its second strategic investment in the junior. The offering is expected to close by February 6, lifting Barrick's stake in Reunion from 15% to 19.9%.
Barrick also previously invested in Australian junior Alicanto Minerals to earn a 65% interest in its Arakaka project in Guyana, although it pulled out of an agreement in June 2018.