China Gold is hunting for deals worth as much as $2 billion

China Gold’s Jiama copper-gold mine located in central Tibet. Image: China Gold International Resources.

China Gold International Resources, the overseas arm of State-owned China National Gold Group, is on the hunt for acquisitions to replenish its pipeline as deal-making in the sector heats up thanks to a jump in the metal’s price.

“We need more pipeline, especially in gold production,” Jerry Xie, executive vice president, said in an interview on the sidelines of the Denver Gold Forum. “We’re currently looking for acquisition opportunities quite aggressively. We’re doing this on behalf of our parent company, not just for ourselves.”

The miner, listed both in Canada and Hong Kong, is targeting companies with assets in operational stages that have ramp-up plans. The company is comfortable making purchases with a price tag at roughly $1-billion to $2-billion, Xie said.

China’s second-largest gold miner is targeting companies with assets in operational stages that have ramp-up plans

The company is open to studying potential acquisitions of single-asset companies with mines near production, he said. It is also interested in possible asset sales that may come from Barrick Gold and Newmont Goldcorp, which both have plans to divest after recent mega-mergers.

Gold is near a six-year high, and industry shares are up about 60% in the past 12 months. Meanwhile, the amount of gold reserves still buried in mines is down by more than half from a 2011 peak. It’s a potent mix that may push miners toward consolidation over expansion for growth.

Acquisitions of gold producers have already jumped to $18.2-billion this year, the highest level in eight years, driven by the merger of Barrick and Randgold Resources, as well as Newmont’s $10-billion purchase of Goldcorp, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Meanwhile, the long-term outlook for gold prices remains bullish, with Citigroup Inc. seeing potential for a record above $2 000/oz in the next two years.

China National Gold, the nation’s second-largest gold miner, is studying a bid for a stake in Canada’s Iamgold, Bloomberg news reported in June. Xie declined to comment on the parent company’s potential deal.

(By Vinicy Chan)

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