In July, Dundee Precious Metals (TSX: DPM), which held a 23.5% stake in Ecuador-focused INV Metals, acquired the remaining shares in the junior exploration company that it did not already own in an all share deal.
Dundee acquired the shares for about C80¢ — a 63% premium to INV Metals’ closing price on the Toronto Stock Exchange on May 28. Iamgold (TSX: IMG; NYSE: IAG), INV’s largest shareholder at the time with just shy of a 36% stake, supported the transaction, which had an equity value on a 100% basis of about $132 million or $104 million for the portion of the company DPM didn’t own.
INV Metals owned the Loma Large project, about 30 km southwest of Cuenca, and completed a feasibility in May 2020 that outlined average production of 203,000 gold-equivalent oz. a year over a mine life of 12 years at all-in sustaining costs of $627 per ounce. The mine would produce two concentrates, a gold-copper concentrate and a gold-pyrite concentrate.
In a fireside chat with Canadian Mining Journal Editor Alisha Hiyate at the Northern Miner’s Global Mining Symposium this week, Candace MacGibbon, INV’s former CEO, talked about the deal and noted that the intention “was never for us to sell the asset … we were not moving it forward just to tick the boxes in order for sale. We were moving forward with building this.” Having said that, she said, there are always two options: “Either you build it or you sell it,” and in this case at this time, the company’s shareholders “overwhelmingly approved it so that was the course of action that we took.”
Fortunately for INV Metals and for its shareholders, Dundee was the right fit to take Loma Larga further, she said. Dundee’s underground Chelopech copper-gold mine in Bulgaria has similar geology, mining methods and processing flow sheet as contemplated at Loma Larga, she explained, and Dundee also sells concentrate and has a dual stage flotation circuit at Chelopech.
(Continue reading at The Northern Miner)