AngloGold exec raises possibility of merger with Barrick

Section:

By Dudley White

Melbourne, Jan. 9 (Bloomberg) -- AngloGold Ltd., vying with
Newmont Mining Corp. for control of Normandy Mining Ltd.,
said it's exploring other takeover opportunities as it tries
to reduce its dependence on South Africa's high-cost mines.

The top gold miner has a list of assets and companies it
would like to buy, though won't be panicked into paying too
much for acquisitions, AngloGold Chairman and Chief
Executive Bobby Godsell said in an interview. Godsell is
in Australia lobbying investors to accept its bid for
Normandy, due to close Friday.

AngloGold has made three bids for Normandy to increase
gold output outside South Africa where deposits miles
underground make costs the world's highest. Analysts
have speculated AngloGold may also bid for South Africa's
Gold Fields Ltd., Ghana's Ashanti Goldfields Co. or
Melbourne-based Newcrest Mining Ltd.

"Even in the age of contemporary transparency, you are
able to explore deals before announcing them, it's a smart
thing to do," Godsell said, declining to name the companies
or assets. "Some (of those possible transactions) have
been more serious than others. Normandy was never the
only company on the list."

AngloGold's bid is valued at almost A$1.84 a share,
based on current prices, less than Newmont's offer,
valued at more than A$1.87 a share. Newmont has said
it expects to complete the takeovers of Normandy and
Normandy's biggest shareholder, Franco- Nevada
Mining Corp., by mid-February.

"We've got a small list of assets and a small list of
companies, in four or five places in the world, including
Australia," Godsell said. "Normandy was never the only
company on the list. The sun will rise and we'll carry on
doing these things.'

AngloGold has until late Friday to decide whether to
increase its offer for Normandy, Godsell said. "People
haven't made up their minds, they do see the gap as
very small," he said. "I think it remains wide open."

Investors holding less than 1 percent of Normandy
stock have accepted AngloGold's bid, Godsell added.
Arbitragers hold between 40 and 45 percent of
Normandy, Newmont Chief Financial Officer Bruce
Hansen said yesterday. Franco owns almost 20 percent.

"We're keen to bring this to a head as soon as
possible," Godsell said. "Of let's say the 12 or 15 key
institutional holders of Normandy, if we got five or six of
those accepting during this week it would create a
psychology ... that would be very positive for us."

AngloGold also has expansion opportunities at
existing mines as well as through exploration, Godsell
said. Among the miner's exploration projects, drilling
at the Coyote zone in the western part of Australia's
Tanami desert has been encouraging, he added.

"We're very excited about the Tanami," Godsell said.
The company has had "some very exciting drillhole
intersections in the last quarter."

AngloGold may also find more reserves around its
Sunrise Dam mine in Western Australia state, he said.

Normandy shares dropped 3 cents, or 1.6 percent, to
A$1.83.