VANCOUVER, B.C. Just a week after acquiring Rio Tinto’s 25% interest in the Bajo de la Alumbrera gold-copper mine in Argentina (see last week’s Net News), WHEATON RIVER MINERALS LTD. has accepted an offer from BHP BILLITON’s wholly-owned subsidiary, RIO ALGOM LTD., to acquire BHP Billiton’s 25% interest in the mine for US$180 million. The payment of up to US$50 million of the purchase price may be deferred until May 30, 2005.
Wheaton River expects to acquire this 25% interest in conjunction with an arm’s length third party such that each will acquire a 12.5% interest in the Alumbrera mine. The transaction is expected to close in June 2003, subject to a number of conditions and approvals.
Following completion of this acquisition, Wheaton River will have 2003 annualized production of 538,000 Au equivalent ounces (450,000 Au ounces and 6.447 million Ag ounces), with an estimated cash cost per Au equivalent ounce of US$99 (including by-product copper credits). More information is available at www.wheatonriver.com or by contacting investor relations at 1-800-567-6223.