* Offer valued at C$1.71/shr
* Offer 15 pct premium to Lake Shore
* Tahoe to own about 74 pct of combined co (Adds background, details)
Feb 8 (Reuters) - Miner Tahoe Resources Inc said it would buy Canada’s Lake Shore Gold Corp for about C$751 million ($540 million) to add low-cost gold mines in Ontario to its portfolio.
Precious metals miners have been clamping down on costs amid a sharp decline in the price of bullion that has weighed on exploration spending, capital to sustain operations and dividends.
Spot gold prices have fallen nearly 40 percent from its peak of $1,920.30 an ounce in September 2011.
The deal comes after Goldcorp Inc sold its 25.6 percent stake in Tahoe for C$998.5 million last June.
Tahoe had also bought smaller rival Rio Alto Mining Ltd in a cash-and-share deal valued at C$1.4 billion last February to expand its presence in Latin America.
Lake Shore Gold operates Timmins West and Bell Creek mines in Timmins, Ontario, while Tahoe has a mine in Guatemala and two mines in Peru.
“The combination with Lake Shore Gold enhances Tahoe’s position as the new leader in precious metals by adding another low-cost operation in Timmins, one of the most prolific gold camps in the world,” Tahoe Executive Chairman Kevin McArthur said in a statement.
Tahoe will pay 0.1467 of its stock for each Lake Shore Gold share. The offer works out to C$1.71, a 15 percent premium to Lake Shore shares, based on both stocks’ Friday close.
Lake Shore had 439.23 million shares outstanding as of Sept 30, according to a regulatory filing.
The deal has an implied equity value of C$945 million, assuming the conversion of some debentures, the companies said.
Tahoe is expected to own about 74 percent of the combined company after the deal closes - likely in early April 2016 - while Lake Shore Gold shareholders will get 26 percent.
The combined company is expected to produce 370,000-430,000 ounces of gold in 2016 at total cash costs of $675-$725 per ounce and all-in costs of $950-$1,000 per ounce.
For the mining industry, all-in costs for producing gold was expected to have averaged at about $1,335 an ounce in 2015, down from nearly $1,700 in 2012, according to Thomson Reuters GFMS.
Tahoe’s U.S.-listed shares were down about 4 percent at $8.04 in premarket trading on Monday. ($1 = 1.3917 Canadian dollars) (Reporting by Swetha Gopinath and Amrutha Gayathri in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)