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AngloGold Ashanti and De Beers form exploration joint venture

A De Beers Marine
mining vessel
Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 07 October 2009 – AngloGold Ashanti Limited and the De Beers Group of Companies have formed a joint venture to explore under-sea for, and eventually to mine, gold and other minerals and metals, but excluding diamonds, unless these occur together with other target minerals and metals.

In a joint statement released here, the two mining giants said the joint venture’s activities would be focused on marine deposits located in or adjacent to the area between the high water mark and the edge of the continental shelf on a worldwide basis. This area of interest for the purpose of the joint venture was defined as the continental shelf.

The statement added that the establishment of this joint venture would allow AngloGold Ashanti to take first-mover advantage of the opportunity of partnering with a world leader in the field of marine exploration and mining with a view to exploration for and mining of  mineral deposits located on the continental shelf. This complemented AngloGold Ashanti’s existing terrestrial exploration and mining activities and its mineral resource, ore reserve and production bases.

The joint venture would establish a technical services company (Techco) to be jointly owned by AngloGold Ashanti and De Beers, the statement added. The participants intended to develop Techco into a fully- functional marine exploration and mining services company, including all the skills, expertise and further proprietary technology that it might develop or acquire, within the joint venture.

It went on to say that AngloGold Ashanti’s funding commitment was to sole fund the joint venture and Techco until the completion of an initial exploration period of at least three consecutive sampling seasons prior to 31 December 2012, or the date upon which AngloGold Ashanti had sole funded a total amount of US$40 million (R320 million), whichever milestone was achieved first.

Following this initial exploration period, AngloGold Ashanti and De Beers would be equal partners in the joint venture and would equally fund and share in the benefits arising from all existing and future opportunities pursued under the joint venture.

“By combining one of the world’s most successful gold exploration teams with the foremost authority in ocean mining and exploration, we’re creating a powerful base to tackle this new frontier,” said AngloGold Ashanti CEO Mark Cutifani.