RAPAPORT... AngloGold Ashanti and De Beers formed a joint venture to explore for gold and other minerals and metals at sea. The joint venture will establish a technical services company called "Techco," with the intention of creating a fully functional marine exploration and mining services company.
AngloGold was impressed by De Beers record of mining marine diamond deposits on the continental shelf and the two companies' activity will focus on marine deposits located in the ocean waters between the high watermark and the edge of the continental shelf. Diamond mining was not part of the venture, but diamonds could become part of the program if they are discovered with other target minerals.
AngloGold Ashanti’s funding commitment, subject to regulatory approval, is to provide the sole funding for the venture and Techco until the completion of an initial exploration period comprised of at least three consecutive sampling seasons, or until the company has solely funded a total of $40 million. At that point, AngloGold Ashanti will have earned interests equivalent to those of De Beers and the two will serve as equal partners in the joint venture and will therefore equally fund and share in the benefits arising from all of the existing and future opportunities that they jointly pursue.
AngloGold will hold its offshore interests in the joint venture through AngloGold Ashanti Marine Exploration Limited and its South African and Southern African Development Community interests in the joint venture either directly or via a South African nominee. De Beers will hold its interests through De Beers Group Exploration Holdings Limited.
"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's chief executive officer (CEO) Mark Cutifani. "By building on our current terrestrial exploration, development and mining activities globally, we’ll work to expand our resource base from an exciting array of shallow marine prospects."