Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris has outlined plans to build a new gold company focused on Africa, saying it is willing to buy any gold mines on the continent offered for sale by Canada's Barrick Gold after its merger with Randgold Resources.
Speaking at the Mines and Money conference in London, Sawiris said he wanted to use the Golden Star gold mining company in Ghana, where he bought a 30% stake in August as a vehicle for the purchase of underground gold mines, mainly in East Africa . .
Sawiris said he was looking for deposits that could produce between 150,000 and 250,000 ounces of gold per year for at least ten years of mines. He highlighted Sudan as an interesting opportunity.
He also told reporters that he met Barrick Gold CEO John Thornton at an elevator in New York and expressed interest in buying some of the company's African mines.
"It makes sense to us," he said, about acquiring any unwanted assets from Barrick, "Sawiris said." We can extend the life of the mine. "
Thornton said Barrick will focus only on its larger and smaller gold and copper mines after the merger with the London-listed Randgold, which was approved by shareholders last month.
Analysts speculated that Barrick could sell the Randgold, Tongon, Massawa and Morila mines in Africa after the end of the year.
"The entire mining industry needs consolidation," added Sawiris. "The two majors decided to merge, and the smaller ones? The two biggest are like a 70 year old guy marrying a 70 year old woman. What we want is for young people to start moving. There is more sense and more urgency for the smaller miners to join than for larger miners. "
Sawiris also said he was eager to fill the void left by Randgold in the London market by listing his West African gold producer Endeavor in the UK or any future gold mines he might acquire on the continent.
While his La Mancha Group controls only 30 percent of Endeavor, Sawiris said he could be "very persuasive" when it comes to convincing other shareholders about the merits of a listing on the London Stock Exchange. Endeavor currently operates in Toronto.
Sawiris made his fortune in the telecommunications industry, but began his investment in international gold mining through an agreement to acquire La Mancha in 2012.