ARGENTINA WHEATON RIVER MINERALS, much in the news for potential mergers or takeover, has upgraded the ore reserves at the Minera Alumbrera mine by 20%. That extends the life of the mine by 2 years, to mid-2015. The ongoing ore delineation drill program has confirmed in excess of 80 million tonnes of additional reserves at depth. With a new geological model and re-optimized mine plan, that tonnage translates into an additional 350,000 tonnes of copper and 1.2 million oz of gold.
Wheaton River of Toronto and IAMGOLD of Vancouver proposed a merger that would create a 1-million-oz/year gold producer with a $1-billion capitalization. That made a very attractive target for two American companies. GOLDEN STAR RESOURCES has made a dissident proxy solicitation for IamGold, and COEUR D’ALENE MINES wants to control Wheaton River. Both Canadian companies are resisting the overtures of the Americans, preferring the original merger plan as the best option for their shareholders. These machinations have been described in CMJ’s Net News over the past two weeks.
Shareholder meetings have been scheduled by IamGold on June 29 in Toronto and by Wheaton River on July 6 in Vancouver. Investors will be asked to support either the merger or the takeovers.