Barrick Gold heads off AJN Resources bid to buy 10% stake in Congo mine, Kibali

TORONTO-listed junior miner, AJN Resources, called off plans to buy a 10% stake in Kibali, the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC’s) largest gold mine amid legal pressure from Barrick Gold, said Reuters.

AJN Resources had an agreement to buy the stake from the DRC’s state-owned company SOKIMO using shares. However, Barrick Gold – which has a 45% stake in Kibali as well as a pre-emptive right over SOMIKO’s holding – issued a notice of cease and desist to AJN Resources. AngloGold Ashanti owns the balancing 45% of Kibali which produced about 830,000 ounces in 2019.

“As a result of its due diligence and further information received, will not proceed with its proposed acquisition of SOKIMO’s 10% free carried interest in the Kibali Gold Mine,” the company announced. Its shares had fallen 50% following news of Barrick’s opposition.

Congolese civil society groups added to the pressure on AJN, demanding transparency over the deal and asking why SOKIMO’s stake sales were not subject to an open tender, said Reuters.

The DRC’s public portfolio ministry emphasised in a statement on March 1 that AJN had only announced its intention to buy the stake and that no final deal had been reached. The final word on any deal will belong to the government, it said.

AJN said it was continuing due diligence on other projects it plans to acquire from SOKIMO (Société Minière de Kilo-Moto), namely 30% stakes in Zani-Kodo, Nizi, and Kibali South, and 35% stakes in Giro Goldfields and Wanga (Tendao), said Reuters.