AngloGold Ashanti invests in G2 Goldfields as Guyana faces annexation threat

Digging at G2 Goldfield’s OKO project in Guyana. Credit: G2 Goldfields

AngloGold Ashanti (NYSE: AU) is buying a stake in Guyana-focused G2 Goldfields (TSXV: GTWO) even as neighbouring Venezuela vows to seize the land where its main project sits.

Denver-headquartered AngloGold is paying C$22.5 million for 11.7% of G2, it said on Tuesday. G2 plans to update its resource next year for the OKO project which lies 120 km west-southwest of the South American country’s capital city, Georgetown.

The OKO Main deposit hosts 793,000 indicated tonnes grading 8.63 grams gold per tonne for 220,000 contained oz. and 3.3 million inferred tonnes grading 9.25 grams gold for 974,000 gold ounces, according to an initial resource estimate in April 2022.

AngloGold says it is interested in the Guiana Shield cutting across the continent’s northeast that hosts G2’s OKO project, Reunion Gold’s (TSXV: RGD) Oko West deposit next door and Guyana’s largest mine, Aurora, which G2 financed and developed before selling it to China’s Zijin Mining in 2020 for $238 million.

But the investment comes as Venezuela’s autocratic President Nicolás Maduro trumpeted a referendum this month showing 95% support for taking two-thirds of Guyana, including the project-laden Essequibo district holding OKO as well as offshore oil discoveries by ExxonMobil.

AngloGold didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment on Maduro’s actions, but G2 issued a statement after the referendum.

“G2 Goldfields’ operations are not affected in any way by the current actions in Venezuela, with five diamond drill rigs currently turning around the clock,” the company said on Dec. 8. “G2 will continue to be a supportive international investor in Guyana.”

Guiana Shield

The Guiana Shield also holds the Omai mine that yielded 3.7 million oz. from 1992 to 2005 for Golden Star Resources and Cambior; Aris Mining’s (TSX: ARIS) Toraparu project; and the Gross Rosebel mine in Suriname that was sold last year by Iamgold (TSX IMG; NYSE: IAG) to Zijin Mining.

“This strategic investment in G2 will provide us with a strong position in one of the world’s key gold provinces with significant potential for new discoveries,” AngloGold Ashanti CEO Alberto Calderon said in Tuesday’s release. “We look forward to G2’s continued exploration success as the Guiana Shield continues to develop.”

AngloGold says G2’s exploration properties, including several targets within a 20-km radius of the OKO Main and Ghanie deposits, have significant growth potential.

G2 reported assays from the Shear 3 target at the site this month, including hole OKD-180, which cut 8.9 metres grading 13 grams gold per tonne, and drill hole 182, which returned 3.6 metres at 14.4 grams. The results provided more confidence in the continuity of gold mineralization while expanding the mineralized zones down plunge, G2 said.

Unpopular policies

Maduro’s foray to dispute an 1899 border settled by international arbitration may simply be a nationalist distraction from unpopular policies at home that have decimated Venezuela’s economy, silenced opposition and driven nearly 8 million people into exile. There are no troops poised to invade and Maduro’s government has said there’s no state of war.

Hardly anyone turned out to vote in the referendum which may backfire for Maduro by showing how despised he is and any action towards Guyana could prompt the United States to reinstate recently lifted sanctions on oil production, The Economist said this month.

The US and the United Kingdom have lined up support for Guyana. Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Brazil’s president, criticized Maduro this month in a rare outburst against his fellow socialist. Guyana President Irfaan Ali appeared calm in a recent televised address.

“You have nothing to worry about when you invest in a country that governs itself in accordance with the rule of law, that stands on the side of democracy and understands what true freedom is,” Ali said this month. “There is nothing to fear.”