Kinross Gold is said to be considering sale of mines in North and South America

October 19, 2020

Canadian gold mining company Kinross Gold Corp. is reportedly considering selling its gold mines in North and South America. The Globe and Mail reported that the company is also considering moving its primary stock listing to London and doubling down on its portfolio of assets in Russia and West Africa. The newspaper cited three sources familiar with the discussions.

The move is being looked as a way to make the smaller company more valuable. The article said Kinross’ Russian and West African mines have always traded at a depressed valuation in the North American market, and since the price of gold has surged in the past year, management believes the timing is favorable to sell its mines in the Americas, the sources added.

Kinross has already considered a secondary stock listing in Europe to appeal to investors who are more comfortable than their North American counterparts with having exposure to Africa and Russia. In an interview in August, Kinross’s chief executive officer, Paul Rollinson, said the company was considering listing on the London Stock Exchange for that reason.

The miner produces far more gold than Kirkland Lake Gold Ltd. and Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd., but its valuation has long lagged those of its Canadian peers because of the West African and Russian holdings. With a market capitalization of $15.3-billion, Kinross is worth $3.2-billion less than Kirkland and $11.2-billion less than Agnico. Kirkland operates in Canada and Australia, while Agnico’s mines are predominantly in Canada. About 44 percnt of Kinross’s gold production comes from Russia’s far east and Mauritania in West Africa, with the rest from the United States and Brazil.

Kinross’s mines in the Americas would be a multibillion-dollar acquisition and could attract interest from large global miners.

South African precious metals company Sibanye-Stillwater Ltd. has said it intends to expand its gold footprint. In February, CEO Neal Froneman told Bloomberg the company was willing to spend as much as US$5-billion to acquire North American gold assets.

Kinross operates two gold mines in Nevada, and another in Alaska. The company also owns Paracatu, Brazil’s biggest gold mine. Total production from those sites was about 1.3 million ounces in 2019.

Sibanye-Stillwater operates gold mines in South Africa, but has gradually been diversifying out of its home country. It has grown in large part because of acquisitions and, unlike many other gold miners over the past few years, has not been shy about paying cash. In 2016, it paid $2.2-billion for Montana-based platinum group metals producer Stillwater Mining Co.

Over the past few years, Kinross has considered acquisitions, but nothing stuck. In 2018, it tried to buy Toronto’s IAMGOLD Corp. in an all-stock deal. In 2019, Kinross took a run at Detour Gold Corp., operator of Canada’s second biggest gold mine. It was outbid by Kirkland Lake, which paid $4.9-billion.



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