Mubadala and Aris Gold team up on Minesa’s Soto Norte gold mine project

Aris Gold will become the operator of the Colombian mining company

The Soto Norte gold project is considered to be one of the world’s largest feasibility-stage gold projects. Photo: Mubadala Investment Company

Mubadala Investment Company, Abu Dhabi's strategic investment arm, entered into an agreement with Aris Gold Corporation to operate the Soto Norte gold project in Colombia as it continues to build its metals and mining portfolio.

Under the joint venture agreement, Aris Gold will acquire a 20 per cent stake in Sociedad Minera de Santander and Sociedad Minera Calvista Colombia, together referred to as Minesa, Mubadala said on Tuesday.

Aris Gold has an option to acquire an additional 30 per cent share in Minesa, the 100 per cent owner of the Soto Norte gold project, considered one of the world’s largest feasibility-stage gold projects.

"The Soto Norte project will benefit from their [Aris Gold's] technical capabilities and local market experience, and we look forward to working with them and the project’s local communities to bring this ... project to fruition," said Danny Dweik, executive director of industrials at Mubadala and chairman of Minesa.

Mubadala, which invests on behalf of the Abu Dhabi government, plays a key role in driving the emirate’s efforts to diversify its revenue base and generate income from sources other than oil.

The sovereign fund’s $243.4 billion investment portfolio spans five continents. It has interests in aerospace, information and communications technology, semiconductors, metals and mining, renewable energy, oil and gas and petrochemicals.

It has been increasingly active in the metals and mining segment. Last month, Mubadala and global commodity trader Trafigura completed the sale of the Minas De Aguas Tenidas (Matsa) mining complex in Spain to Australian mining and exploration company Sandfire Resources.

The sale is a “culmination of significant investment” in the Matsa mining complex and aligns with Mubadala’s mandate to recycle capital to maximise returns to its shareholder, the Abu Dhabi company said at the time.

As part of the new agreement, Aris Gold's chief executive Neil Woodyer will be appointed chief executive of Minesa and lead the preparation of the company’s operational licence application.

The company will use its position as an "established member of the Colombian mining industry" to ensure the Soto Norte project operates at the highest international sustainability standards, Mubadala said.

Colombia's Soto Norte has a large resource base with "additional significant resource upside potential, and the project has the potential to be a large-scale, low-cost, underground gold mining operation", it said.

Once the deal is closed, Aris Gold and Mubadala will enter into a comprehensive agreement to govern the joint venture company through which environmental licensing, project development and mine operation will be undertaken.

Updated: March 22, 2022, 2:50 PM