Commodities & Metals

Another Gold Mining Merger Rumor Goes Soft, Sort Of

Iamgold Corp. (NYSE: IAG) is a relatively small gold mining outfit that recently joined in the buyout rumor mill. A report from Bloomberg on Thursday had indicated that Iamgold was exploring a sale of the company, garnering at least some interest from speculators who chase buyout rumors.

What made the rumors less than crazy in Thursday’s trading session was the report that Iamgold was exploring a possible sale of “all or parts of” its gold mining business. It was also citing “people familiar with the matter” rather than naming any sources, although that is more than typical in rumor reports.

It’s not a crazy time to think of gold mining consolidation. After all, two major gold mergers have closed in the first four months of 2019. Barrick Gold acquired Randgold Resources, Newmont Mining’s acquisition of Goldcorp made it the world’s largest gold producer. To add some fuel to the fire, Iamgold’s CEO recently even said that the gold industry remains likely to see more buyouts as it consolidates for scale and to better attract a shrinking pool of funding.

Iamgold did not kill the buyout rumors entirely, but its statement was far less aggressive than some speculators may have hoped:

As a general policy, the Company does not comment on speculation and rumors. The Company is not aware of any material change that would account for recent trading activity in its stock. The Company regularly reviews strategic alternatives available to it and may engage in discussions regarding potential transactions. The Company will inform the market as required and does not have any further comment at this time.

That is what some investors and speculators might think of as a “denial-light, with hopes of a ‘maybe’ ahead.”

As far as what a buyer of Iamgold might be getting in an entire buyout or in a partial operational buyout, Iamgold lists its operating mines as follows: Rosebel Gold Mine (Suriname), Essakane Gold Mine (Burkina Faso), Westwood Gold Mine (Canada) and Sadiola Gold Mine and Yatela Gold Mine (both in Mali). The company further noted that it has development projects in Côté Gold Project (Ontario) and Boto Gold Project (Senegal).

Iamgold also listed two exploration projects: Pitangui Project (Brazil) and Siribaya (Mali). The company’s two joint ventures are the Monster Lake in Quebec as an option agreement with Toma Gold and also the Eastern Borosi in Nicaragua as an option agreement with Calibre Mining.

Iamgold shares climbed 8.7% to $2.60 on Thursday’s rumor reporting, and the shares briefly traded up 15% to as high as $2.75 earlier in the day. Its 20 million shares that traded on Thursday was about four times a normal day’s volume.

After Iamgold’s statement, the U.S.-listed shares were down almost 4% at $2.51. It has a 52-week range of $2.33 to $6.33, and its market cap is just under $1.2 billion.

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