April 1 (Reuters) - Canadian gold miner Iamgold Corp is in talks with AngloGold Ashanti Ltd on buying AngloGold's stakes in two gold mines in Mali in which they are partners, Iamgold said late on Tuesday.
Iamgold and AngloGold each own 41 percent of the Sadiola mine in southwestern Mali. The two miners also each own a 40 percent stake in the nearby Yatela mine. South African-headquartered AngloGold is the operator of both mines, in which the government of Mali owns the remaining interests.
AngloGold, under pressure to reduce its debt, said earlier on Tuesday that it intends to dispose of its stakes in Sadiola and Yatela. It said it had been approached by a potential buyer that meets its criteria and has asked for a binding bid.
The Sadiola mine is nearing the end of its supply of oxide ore, or soft rock, and an expansion to process hard rock is necessary. Iamgold has said that although the expansion will provide growth at lower costs it is not its preference to make the investment on its own.
"Iamgold has been having ongoing dialogue with AngloGold, with respect to how the Sadiola expansion project could move forward and to help facilitate their exit from their share of the assets. Acquiring their share of the assets has always been one of the options," Iamgold spokeswoman Laura Young said in an email. (Reporting by Nicole Mordant in Vancouver; Editing by Peter Galloway)