September 8, 2016 / 7:37 PM / 2 years ago

Goldcorp hires Scotiabank to run Los Filos mine sale: sources

TORONTO/MEXICO CITY, Sept 8 (Reuters) - Goldcorp Inc has hired Bank of Nova Scotia to lead the sale process for Los Filos, its gold and silver mine in Mexico, according to two sources familiar with the situation, after putting the asset on the block earlier in the summer.

David Garofalo, chief executive of the Vancouver-based gold miner, said in late July that Goldcorp was looking at offloading the mine, as well as weighing options for its Alumbrera mine in Argentina and the Marlin mine in Guatemala.

An open pit and underground mine in southern Mexico, Los Filos has proven and probable gold reserves of 1.46 million ounces and 10.55 million ounces of silver.

Its net asset value was estimated at $617 million in an August RBC Capital Markets report. The mine is now operating under a revised, shorter mine life plan that targets higher grades of gold.

Goldcorp could either make a cash sale to a large player or target a junior or intermediate miner with an arrangement that includes shares of the acquirer, said the sources, who declined to be named as the matter is not public yet.

Canadian gold miner Torex Gold Resources Inc is seen as a logical buyer because it has a mine about 41 kilometers (25 miles) from Los Filos, the sources said.

Several other Canadian and global players with mines in Mexico could also take a look, the sources added.

With Torex ramping up its own Guerrero mine, it’s unclear how keen the company is to double down in the region, which has had social and crime issues and the occasional shutdown.

“As neighbors with potential synergies, it is almost incumbent upon us to look. We will do so to find out if we should be interested,” Torex CEO Fred Stanford said.

Goldcorp declined comment, and Scotiabank did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Other Canadian gold miners with a presence in Mexico include Yamana Gold, Agnico Eagle Mines, New Gold , Argonaut Gold Inc, Alamos Gold Inc, Timmins Gold Corp, McEwen Mining and Primero Mining Corp.

Considered by Goldcorp as a non-core asset, Los Filos is a “smaller scale” mine that lacks economies of scale, Garofalo told Reuters in the July interview.

Los Filos gold production is estimated at 328,000 ounces this year and 404,000 ounces in 2017. It is expected to slip to 166,000 ounces in 2020, its final year of operation, RBC analysts have forecast. (With additional reporting by Susan Taylor in Toronto; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)

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