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Norilsk Nickel sells more than $35m gold mining assets in Australia

January 21, 2014, 17:43 UTC+3 21
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MOSCOW, January 21 (Itar-Tass) - Australian subsidiary of the Russian mining and metallurgical company MMC Norilsk Nickel, Norilsk Nickel Australia Pty Ltd, has signed an agreement to sell its gold mining assets in western Australia, says the company’s report released on the London Stock Exchange.

Norilsk Nickel estimated the positive effect from sales, taking into account the amount of the deal and transfer of land rehabilitation liabilities, at 100 million Australian dollars (about $88 million), the MMC’s press office told Itar-Tass. The deal is planned to be finalized over the first six months of 2014.

Under the deal, North Eastern Goldfields Operations (NEGO) is sold to the Australian Saracen Metals Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of Saracen Mineral Holdings Limited trading on the Australian Stock Exchange, for 40 million Australian dollars, or $35.2 million. Saracen takes on all land rehabilitation liabilities. Asset disposal is subject to approval of controlling authorities and fulfilment of a number of the deal’s compulsory conditions.

Gold ore assets in Western Australia, among them gold mines Thunderbox and Bannockburn, a processing plant and a nickel mine Waterloo, were included in Norilsk Nickel’s sales programme under the company’s new strategy adopted last October.

Gold reserves of the assets set for sales, according to the JORC code of mineral resources and ore reserves, are 728,000 ounces, or 22.6 tonnes, resources are 2.09 million ounces (65 tonnes). Since Norilsk Nickel acquired the assets in 2011, the company has carried out no mining, research and systemic geological exploration works here.

Meanwhile, according to Saracen, it is planning to renew production at the assets within 18 months after the deal is finalized.

MMC Norilsk Nickel is a diversified major world producer of nickel and palladium and the leading producer of platinum, cobalt, copper and rhodium. The company also specializes in gold, silver, iridium, osmium, selenium, ruthenium and tellurium.

Norilsk Nickel is shared by Vladimir Potanin’s Interros (30.3 percent), UC RUSAL whose major shareholder is Oleg Deripaska (27.8 percent) and Alisher Usmanov’s Metalloinvest (about 5 percent). Roman Abramovich’s and Alexander Abramov’s Millhouse holds 5.87 percent of MMC and can also vote 15 percent of shares owned by Interros and RUSAL.

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