South Africa-based Gold Fields and AngloGold Ashanti have formed a joint venture for Gold Fields’ Tarkwa and AngloGold Ashanti’s neighbouring Iduapriem mines in Ghana.

Gold Fields currently owns 90% of the Tarkwa Mine, through its subsidiary Gold Fields Ghana, while the Government of Ghana (GoG) holds the remaining 10% stake.

AngloGold Ashanti fully owns the Iduapriem Mine. Both mines are located near the town of Tarkwa in the Western Region of Ghana.

The two companies ruled out a full-scale merger and agreed to combine their neighbouring Tarkwa and Iduapriem operations, reported Reuters.

Gold Fields interim CEO Martin Preece said: “The Proposed Joint Venture is an exciting opportunity to combine mining operations that are essentially part of the same mineral deposit and is something that Gold Fields and AngloGold Ashanti have discussed many times before over the years.

“The ability to optimise mining and the use of shared infrastructure across the combined operation will result in significant flexibility in mine planning, materially enhancing the economics of the mine and ensuring quality and scale of operation that will be world-class.

“That unlocked value will underpin the Proposed Joint Venture’s continued contribution to our host communities and Ghana for decades to come. For Gold Fields, it will also significantly enhance the overall quality of our portfolio.”

The proposed joint venture is intended to be formed as an incorporated joint venture, constituted within Gold Fields Ghana, and operated by Gold Fields.

Gold Fields will have a 66.7% stake and AngloGold Ashanti will have the remaining 33.3% stake in the proposed joint venture.

AngloGold Ashanti will offer its entire stake in the Iduapriem operation to Gold Fields Ghana, in exchange for a shareholding in the company.

The proposed JV is expected to create a large-scale gold mine in Africa, with its operations supported by a substantial mineral endowment and an initial life of about 20 years.

Both firms stated that optimised mining of the combined ore bodies and consolidated infrastructure of the adjacent mines would deliver operational synergies for all shareholders and stakeholders.

Furthermore, the proposed joint venture requires no material, or additional capital injection by either company and is expected to improve its capital intensity once it is operational.

AngloGold Ashanti CEO Alberto Calderon said: “This combination puts together two parts of the same world-class ore body, allowing us to share skills and infrastructure to significantly enhance every aspect of this mining operation, from exploration and planning to mining and processing.

“By creating one of the world’s largest open-pit gold operations, in a pre-eminent mining jurisdiction, we will create longer-term value not only for AngloGold Ashanti and Gold Fields, but for the combined stakeholders in our local host communities and for all of Ghana.”