SA family plots return to mining after raising $360m for African gold mine deals

AFRICAN Gold Acquisition Corporation, a special purpose acquisition company targeting gold assets on the continent, raised a more-than-expected $360m ahead of a listing in New York on Friday, said Bloomberg News.

“We are the only Africa mining-focused SPAC amongst a sea of SPACs,” Rob Hersov, the founder and chairman of the company, told the newswire by text message. Potential acquisitions will be in “well-trodden mining countries, so no surprises. And we will likely buy a mining company and possibly add others thereafter.”

Hersov is the son of Basil Hersov, who ran AngloVaal Mining, the company founded by his father and once one of South Africa’s biggest mining companies. Chris Chadwick, a former director of Sibanye Stillwater Ltd., is CEO, said Bloomberg.

The offer, which was initially set to raise $300m, saw stock sold at $10 a share.

“There are a lot of interesting mining companies and assets looking for capital to expand, Hersov said.

Gold mining firms have said that previous plans to embark on acquisitions have since been shelved owing to high valuations and uncertainty regarding the gold price.

“I’m not sure if this is the right time for M&A,” said Mark Bristow, CEO of Barrick Gold in an interview with Miningmx on February 18.

“There is a lot of opportunities but there’s also a lot of latent stress in the gold industry as valuations are high. We have really trimmed down the portfolio in a disciplined way, but now is the time to be prudent”.

Harmony Gold CEO, Peter Steenkamp, said further acquisitions were not immediately on his radar. “We’ve got a lot of work on our hands,” he said in reference to his firm’s purchase of Mponeng gold mine from AngloGold Ashanti.