China Gold Firms Are Said to Pursue $1.5 Billion Indonesia Mine

(Bloomberg) -- Shandong Gold Group, one of biggest Chinese miners of the metal, is among firms considering bids for EMR Capital’s Indonesian gold and silver mine, people with knowledge of the matter said.

China Gold International Resources Corp. is also exploring a possible bid for the Martabe mine in North Sumatra province, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the details are private. EMR Capital, a resources-focused private equity firm, is weighing options including a sale of the asset, which could fetch as much as $1.5 billion, the people said.

Gold producers are seeking acquisitions amid a rally in the price of the precious metal, which last week touched the highest in more than a year as concerns over North Korea’s missile ambitions escalated. Shandong Gold’s listed arm agreed in April to pay $960 million for a stake in a Barrick Gold Corp. mine in Argentina, while a group including Fosun International Ltd. said in May it will purchase a stake in Russia’s Polyus PJSC for $887 million.

Deliberations are at an early stage, and there’s no certainty they will result in a transaction, according to the people. 

Calls to Shandong Gold Group weren’t answered, while an official at listed arm Shandong Gold Mining Co. said he couldn’t immediately comment. A spokeswoman for EMR Capital declined to comment, while a representative for China Gold International didn’t respond to requests for comment outside regular business hours in Canada.

EMR Capital last year closed its second fund with $860 million of commitments. The Melbourne-based firm is reviewing opportunities in copper, gold, coking coal and potash, Chief Executive Officer Jason Chang said in August.

A group led by EMR Capital completed the acquisition of the Martabe mine in March last year for an initial purchase price of $775 million. The mine poured about 310,000 ounces of gold last year, according to its operator’s annual report.

China Gold International, the overseas arm of nation’s largest state-owned producer of the metal, is considering acquisitions in China, Canada, Africa and South America, Executive Vice President and Corporate Secretary Jerry Xie said earlier this year. The Canada-based unit trades in Toronto and Hong Kong.