Asanko Gold, in a joint venture (JV) with Gold Fields in Ghana, has significantly strengthened its balance sheet this year and will finish 2019 with about $35-million in cash and receivables, with no debt.
The miner has received the final $10-million payment of the gross proceeds of $185-million associated with the 2018 JV agreement with Gold Fields, which made the companies 50:50 partners in the Asanko gold mine (AGM).
In addition, with the significant capital expenditure programme completed at the AGM and the operations continuing to generate positive free cashflow, the JV has started returning invested capital to the partners.
The fourth-quarter distribution amounted to $20-million, with $10-million to be paid to each partner.
“The combination of these two transactions has significantly bolstered Asanko’s balance sheet,” CEO Greg McCunn said on Thursday.
“We are pleased to see a return of our invested capital following a significant multi-year period of capital investment at the AGM. With improved confidence in the free cash flow generation of the mine together with our balanced approach to capital allocation, we have commenced returning a portion of excess corporate cash to shareholders through a normal course issuer bid which we announced in November.”
The normal course issuer bid (NCIB), which allows the company to purchase up to 11 310 386 common shares, representing 5% of Asanko’s then issued and outstanding common shares, started on November 15.
To date, Asanko has bought 0.9-million shares at the market prices.