Vancouver-based international mining company B2Gold announced Monday morning that it is taking over Sabina Gold and Silver’s Back River gold district and all related assets in the Kitikmeot for $1.1 billion.
B2Gold is paying the equivalent of $1.87 per share to acquire all of the shares of the junior venture. Sabina’s shares closed at $1.58 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Friday.
“B2Gold has strong northern construction expertise and experience to deliver the fully permitted Goose project and the financial resources to develop the significant gold resource endowment at the Back River Gold District into a large, long life mining complex,” the company stated, noting its experience commissioning two mines in Russia when it was formerly known as Bema Gold.
It also committed to honour the existing framework agreement that Sabina signed with the Kitikmeot Inuit Association outlining renewable 20-year benefit and land tenure agreements.
“B2Gold looks forward to continuing the positive and strong relationships with the community that Sabina has established through meaningful engagement,” the news release reads. “B2Gold recognizes that respect and collaboration with the KIA is central to the license to operate in the district and will continue to prioritize developing the project in a manner that recognizes Indigenous input and concerns and brings long-term socio-economic benefits to the area. Consistent with how it develops all its projects around the world, B2Gold is committed to ensuring that its operations leave a lasting and positive legacy and to minimize environmental impacts.”
The new owner of Back River has operating gold mines in Mali, Namibia and the Philippines and exploration and development projects in Mali, Colombia, Finland and Uzbekistan.
B2Gold expects to produce between 1,000,000 and 1,080,000 ounces of gold in 2023.
The Goose Mine in Nunavut — 400 km southwest of Cambridge Bay — is expected to begin producing an average 223,000 ounces of gold annually beginning in 2025, with a mine life of 15 years.
“Upon completion of the transaction, it is anticipated that B2Gold would develop the Back River Gold District without further equity dilution to B2Gold shareholders,” the company stated.
Clive Johnson, president and chief executive officer of B2Gold said, “The acquisition of Sabina represents an exciting opportunity to develop the significant gold resource endowment at the Back River Gold District into a large, long life mining complex. B2Gold has strong construction expertise and experience to successfully develop the fully permitted Goose project and unlock considerable value for the shareholders of both Sabina and B2Gold. The Back River Gold District has multiple high-potential mineralized zones, which remain open, and we are confident that the district has strong untapped upside with numerous avenues for resource growth.”
Bruce McLeod, president and chief executive officer of Sabina said, “We are tremendously proud of the work we have done to advance the first mine on what we believe will be a multi-generational mining district at Back River. The execution of the Goose project by Sabina did not come without risk to Sabina as a single asset, junior development company with capital constraints. With a two-year construction period until first gold production, we believe that additional value can be unlocked by participating as shareholders of a major gold producer with the northern experience and financial resources to optimize the Goose project and this prolific belt. shareholders will also benefit from exposure to B2Gold’s continued growth and healthy dividends.
“We would like to thank our land-owners, the Kitikmeot Inuit Association and the constituents of the Kitikmeot Region for all their support in advancing this project. I am confident that, when completed, this agreement means an ever-brighter future for the Back River Gold District. B2Gold will bring to Nunavut a wealth of international mining experience built upon a proven track record of project success.”