The merger of Lihir Gold Ltd and Equigold NL has been approved by Equigold shareholders.
At a meeting in Perth to consider the proposed merger, 94.29% of shares voted were in favour of
the Scheme of Arrangement.
"This is an excellent result for both LGL and Equigold," said Chairman Ross Garnaut.
"It is gratifying to see Equigold shareholders strongly supporting the Scheme and recognizing the potential in the new merged group. The union of these two companies will create a major gold producer with an attractive growth profile, low cost structure and more diversified operations," he said.
"By the end of 2008, we expect to have four mines in operation in three countries, producing at an
annual rate of more than 1.2 million ounces of gold.
"We are pleased to bring Equigold's shareholders on to the LGL register and look forward to sharing with them in the future development of the mines at Lihir, Ballarat, Mt Rawdon and in Ivory Coast," he said.
Equigold has an interest in some of Ivory Coast's most prospective territory after it took advantage of mining regulations introduced in the West African nation in 1996.
Its exploration activity has led to the planned start of commercial production at its $65 million Bonikro mine by the end of July this year.
Lihir CEO Arthur Hood also welcomed Equigold's 150 employees who bring with them a range of expertise and experience and a proud track record of consistent delivery.
"The addition of these people will strengthen our skill base. In particular, I am pleased to have the Equigold CEO Mark Clark and Chief Operating Officer Morgan Hart joining the management team," he said.
"The combination of Lihir and Equigold promises to deliver excellent returns for shareholders in future years. The Bonikro mine will be coming into production early in the second half of 2008, and then at the end of the year, Ballarat will commence commercial production. This will add to the strong growth coming through at Lihir Island, following the expansion of the process plant last year, and the very consistent, low cost performance of the Mt Rawdon mine.
"Together, this portfolio of producing mines will provide diversified cashflow streams for the
company, improved operational consistency and reduced overall risk.
"Beyond 2008, we have significant expansion plans under way at Lihir Island, and major potential
for expansion at Ballarat and in the Ivory Coast. So the merged group represents a very attractive
investment and I am pleased to see Equigold shareholders recognizing that potential," Mr Hood