Canada’s B2Gold (TSX, NYSE: BTO) is buying Australian explorer Oklo Resources (ASX: OKU) in a deal valued at A$90 million ($64m) or 17.25 cents per share, representing a 127% premium on Oklo’s closing price of 7.6 cents per share on Wednesday.
As part of the transaction, B2Gold will give Oklo’s investors 5.25c cash per share and will issue up to 10,754,284 shares for the target company’s shareholders once the agreement has been implemented.
The acquisition of Oklo expands B2Gold footprint in Mali, West Africa, with 1,405 sq km covering the country’s highly prospective greenstone belts. This include Oklo’s flagship Dandoko gold project, located 30km east of B2Gold’s 7.1 million-ounce Fekola mine.
For the past five years, B2Gold has been looking for new assets to grow its portfolio, which includes mines in Mali, Namibia and the Philippines.
The mid-tier gold producer said in November it was weighing the acquisitions of gold assets in Zimbabwe, which needs fresh investment in its key mining sector to reboot a struggling economy.
Chief executive officer Clive Johnson noted at the time the company would consider buying operating assets, enter into joint ventures and explore the potential for establishing a milling plant in Zimbabwe.
Other than Fekola, on the border between Mali and Senegal, B2Gold is developing its Anaconda project, located 20 km north of the Fekola mine licence area.
The Vancouver-based gold producer recently increased resources at the project more than fourfold – from 770,000 ounces of contained gold to 3.4 million ounces.
B2Gold spent last year about $12.7 million on exploring the Anaconda area to complete nearly 57,000 metres of combined reverse-circulation and diamond drilling. This year, the company plans to spend $12 million more to explore the area and has five drill rigs already present.
In February, a new subsidiary of B2Gold received a new three-year exploration permit covering the Menankoto permit, part of the Anaconda area.
The licence brought an end to the company’s dispute with the government of Mali that began in March last year.