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Glencore lifts stake in MARA project

Zug-based Glencore will increase its stake in the MARA copper-gold project in Argentina to 43.75% by acquiring US miner Newmont’s 18.75% stake in the Yamana Gold-led scheme for an initial US$125 million.
Glencore lifts stake in MARA project Glencore lifts stake in MARA project Glencore lifts stake in MARA project Glencore lifts stake in MARA project Glencore lifts stake in MARA project

Glencore boosts MARA stake

Glencore will pay US$124.9 million upon closing and a $30 million deferred payment upon commercial production subject to an annual interest charge of 6%.

Total deferred consideration is capped at $50 million.

Under the new structure, Yamana Gold will remain the operator with 56.25% of MARA, with Glencore owning the remaining shares.

Yamana Gold is the subject of a planned takeover bid from South African miner Gold Fields.

"Consolidation of ownership makes the ultimate development of MARA more likely, in our view," said analysts at BMO Capital Markets. "This is not only a positive for Yamana, the project operator and majority owner, but also potentially for Gold Fields."

Yamana Gold said it welcomed Glencore's increased stake in the project as a "positive step for MARA."

Glencore previously operated Minera Alumbrera in which Yamana Gold was a partner. Minera Alumbrera is part of the MARA project after its integration with Minera Agua Rica.

Yamana Gold estimates initial capital spend at MARA of US$2.78 billion and all-in sustaining costs (AISC) of $1.44/lb copper for the first 10 years of production.

Yamana is working to advance the permitting, engineering, social licensing and field work of the project towards the goal of finalizing a feasibility study and ESIA with the feasibility study due out in in the first half of next year.

Analysts welcomed the deal for Newmont as MARA was a non-core asset for the Denver-headquarter miner.

"We deem this as a prudent move for Newmont as the project was non-core, and the divestment will allow them to continue to focus on their other growth projects," said Mike Parkin, mining analyst at National Bank of Canada.

MARA has proven and probable mineral reserves of 5.4 million tonnes of copper and 7.4 million ounces of gold contained in 1.105 billion tonnes of ore with an initial mine life of 28 years.

Shares in Glencore were down 4% at 470 pence, giving the firm a market capitalisation of £61.7 billion.

Shares in Newmont were 0.24% higher at US$42.50, giving the firm a market capitalisation of $33.7 billion.