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BHP to acquire Guyana Goldfields' SolGold stake for £27.4M

BHP Billiton Group inked an agreement with Guyana Goldfields Inc. to acquire the latter's 6.1% interest in SolGold Plc for around £27.4 million.

SolGold is the majority owner and operator of the Cascabel porphyry copper-gold project in Ecuador.

BHP will acquire 103,125,000 shares in SolGold for about 27 pence per share, an approximate 20% premium to the 20-day volume-weighted average price of SolGold shares on the London Stock Exchange.

"The sale of our shares in SolGold will significantly strengthen our balance sheet and will leave us well positioned to deliver on our targeted production growth over the near term," Guyana Goldfields President and CEO Scott Caldwell said.

BHP CEO Andrew Mackenzie said in a Sept. 5 release that the investment will provide the company with exposure to a high-quality copper exploration project.

"Consistent with our positive long-term outlook, copper is a key exploration focus for BHP as we seek to replenish our resource base and grow this important business," Mackenzie added.

Guyana Goldfields said Sept. 4 that it intends to use the proceeds to reduce its debt, and for general corporate purposes.

The transaction is expected to close by Sept. 6.