Teck has sold its stake in another gold mine in its efforts to continue to chip away at its $9.4 billion debt remaining from the $14 billion takeover of Fording Coal.
Teck, which sold its interests in the Hemlo mine and the Peruvian mining company El Brocal earlier this year, has now sold its royalty interest in the Andacollo gold mine in Chile to Denver's Royal Gold for US$300 million.
Royal Gold said the purchase price consists of $100 million in cash and 4.5 million shares of Royal Gold common stock. The company will receive 75% of the gold produced from the sulfide portion of the Andacollo deposit until 910,000 payable ounces of gold have been sold, after which Royal will receive 50% of all future payable gold from the property.
Teck, which owns 90% of the project, will continue to manage and develop the sulfide project, known as the hypogene project.
In a news release, Tony Jensen, president and CEO of Royal Gold, said, We are extremely pleased to partner with an experienced operator like Teck on this long-life project in the excellent host country of Chile. This is yet another great addition to our world-class gold royalty portfolio.
Teck said the transaction with Royal Gold will provide more than sufficient funding to complete construction of the Andacollo expansion project, relieving Teck of a substantial funding obligation in 2009, and will also enable Teck to repatriate surplus funds from Chile to apply to the bridge loan associated with the Fording Coal acquisition.
The Andacollo mine is currently constructing a concentrate project that is expected to average production of an estimated 168 million pounds of copper and 43,000 ounces of gold in concentrate yearly during the first 10 years of production. The project is expected to produce its first concentrate in the fourth quarter of this year with full commercial production planned in the first half of 2010.
The sulfide orebody is believed to contain proven and probable reserves of 1.6 million ounces of gold, which will be mined over 20 years, according to Royal Gold.
Canada's Globe and Mail reported Monday that Teck plans to pull off a series of transactions in coming weeks that include more than $2 billion in asset sales, a debt restructuring and a potential equity issue.
The newspaper also said that Teck is considering selling the 2.5 million ounces of silver it produces at its Red Dog zinc mine in Alaska. Sources have identified Silver Wheaton as a potential buyer, the paper said.
The dual transactions could yield $400 million for Teck, which must begin paying down a $4 billion term loan this month while a $5.35 billion bridge loan is due at the end of October.
Other proposed sales include a 20% interest in Teck's coal mining operations, as well as a 40% interest in the Pogo gold mine in Alaska. The company is also expcted to sell its 20% interest in the Fort Hills oil sands project in Alberta.