Provident, Saratoga-backed Merdeka buys majority stake in Indonesian gold project

Merdeka Copper Gold, an Indonesian gold mining company backed by Provident Capital and Saratoga Capital, has acquired a 66.6 per cent stake in Pani Joint Venture for $55 million.

Pani JV minority shareholder Lion Selection Group disclosed the deal in an ASX disclosure. It said the transaction implies a look through value of A$39 million for its existing 33.3 per cent interest in the Indonesian gold project.

Lion said that Merdeka, which is currently providing technical, social and government relations support for Pani Joint Venture, will provide financial and Indonesian operations expertise to the development of the Pani Gold Project.

Lion acquired its 33.3 per cent Pani Joint Venture interest from One Asia in April 2018.

Pani Joint Venture is working to obtain key permits including the AMDAL (Indonesian environmental and social approval) for its processing and refining area permit, and forestry approval for the mining IUP. The permits are anticipated to be received by December 2018.

Technical work on the project accelerated in December 2017, following the settlement of a four-year ownership dispute.

Merdeka has developed and currently operates the Tujuh Bukit oxide heap leach project in East Java. The company previously acquired 96.8 per cent of Finders Resources Limited, which owns a 74 per cent economic interest in and operates the Wetar Copper Project in eastern Indonesia.

Merdeka was founded in 2012 and acquired 100 per cent ownership of the Tujuh Bukit project in 2014 after a settlement was reached between several parties who were in dispute. Merdeka has a market capitalisation of approximately $780 million.

Its investment in Finders Resources last year was done together with its backers Provident Capital and Saratoga Capital through a consortium called Eastern Field Developments.

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