[TORONTO] Newmont Mining Corp is in exclusive talks with AngloGold Ashanti Ltd as it moves closer toward clinching a deal to buy the African miner's Cripple Creek & Victor gold mine in Colorado, according to two sources familiar with the matter.
A sale could be finalized soon, and the price for the gold asset is likely to be well below the US$1 billion that was initially speculated on by analysts, said the sources, who asked not to be named as they are not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.
The sources said that if South African-based AngloGold agrees to a sale, the asset is likely to fetch a price somewhere in the US$700 million to US$800 million range.
One source said that the divestiture process, which is being led by BMO Capital Markets, may still result in the partial sale and not an outright sale of the entire asset.
Newmont and BMO declined to comment on the matter. AngloGold could not be reached for comment.
Greenwood Village, Colorado-based Newmont is the world's second-biggest gold producer by output. Its stock, up 44 per cent this year, has outperformed its peers as the company has cut debt while managing to fund growth projects and reduce operating costs.
Other players that had been vying for the Cripple Creek asset and that may still re-enter the fray if Newmont fails to strike a deal, are Canadian gold miners Iamgold, Kinross , Goldcorp and Yamana.
US-based gold and silver miner Hecla Mining Co had looked at the asset but decided against making a bid for it, Luke Russell, the company's vice-president for external affairs said.
Cripple Creek & Victor is an open pit mine that produced some 211,000 ounces of gold in 2014 and about 110,000 ounces of silver.
AngloGold, the world's No 3 gold miner by production, said in April it was looking for a partner or buyer for the mine as it attempts to reduce its US$3.1 billion debt pile by at least US$1 billion over the next one to three years.
Large gold producers globally, including world No 1 Barrick Gold Corp, are selling non-core assets as they try to reduce debt and slim down operations at a time of weaker gold prices.