(Adds CEO comment, background on assets)
By Euan Rocha
TORONTO, Dec 10 (Reuters) - Yamana Gold Inc said on Wednesday it will place some of its Brazilian assets that have been deemed as non-core into a subsidiary dubbed Brio Gold and that it will explore a potential sale along with other options for the unit in 2015.
The Canadian gold miner said it has retained National Bank Financial and CIBC World Markets as financial advisors to assist in the process of evaluating strategic alternatives with respect to Brio Gold.
The assets being parceled off into Brio Gold include Fazenda Brasileiro, C1 Santa Luz and Pilar, and its Agua Rica project.
In addition, Yamana said it is reassembling the entire Augusta Resource management team under the leadership of Gil Clausen to run Brio. In June, Clausen agreed to sell Augusta that owned the promising Rosemont copper project in Arizona to HudBay Minerals for about C$555 million ($485 million).
Yamana said it is going to retain its Chapada and Jacobina mines in Brazil and that the two assets will be managed by the existing, but significantly scaled back management team in Brazil.
“This approach segregates our portfolios, better focuses our efforts, reduces our overall costs and allows us in the fullness of time to evaluate how to best maximize value for our non-core portfolio,” said Yamana Chief Executive Peter Marrone in a statement.
Yamana reported a hefty third-quarter net loss in October on the back of large impairment charges for three Brazilian mines, C1 Santa Luz, Ernesto/Pau-a-Pique and Pilar. At the time Yamana said it was continuing to review all options for the assets.
The miner had mothballed C1 Santa Luz in the third quarter, due to falling metal prices and development challenges. It also cut production at its Pilar mine at the start of October and had earlier reduced activity at its Ernesto/Pau-a-Pique mine.
Earlier this year, Marrone told Reuters that the Brazilian assets had dimmed in significance for the company, which is now focused on squeezing higher returns from a recent acquisition in Canada.
In April, Yamana triumphed in its joint bid for Canadian-based Osisko Mining, which owned the low-cost Canadian Malartic gold mine in Quebec.
Yamana’s C$3.9 billion white-knight offer for Osisko, in concert with partner Agnico-Eagle Mines, topped a bid for Osisko from rival Canadian gold miner Goldcorp Inc.
$1 = 1.1453 Canadian dollars Reporting by Euan Rocha Editing by W Simon