In a move that riled some investors, Freeport McMoran Copper & Gold (NYSE:FCX) announced a diversification of its asset base on Wednesday with a $9-billion investment in two oil and gas acquisitions. The company is spending $6.9 billion for Plains Exploration & Production (NYSE:PXP) and $2.1 billion for McMoRan Exploration (NYSE:MMR).
Moody's has downgraded Gold Fields (NYSE:GFI) to "junk" status following last week's announcement of a South African spin-off company, Sibanye. In a statement quoted by Bloomberg, a Moody's representative said, "[t]he negative outlook assigned to Gold Fields Ltd. (GFI)'s ratings is primarily driven by the near-term deterioration of free cash flow and higher reliance of cash flows from its operations in Ghana in the short to medium term, until the South Deep project is complete and can contribute towards healthy positive free cash flows."
Gold Field's share price is trading $0.04 lower, at $11.33.PMI Gold (TSX:PMV,ASX:PVM) and Keegan Resources (TSX:KGN,NYSE:KGN) announced that they will merge and operate jointly under the name Asanko Gold. The merger is geared at creating a leading West African gold development company. The company will be headed by Keegan CEO and president, Peter Breese, and Collin Ellison, managing director and CEO of PMI. Junior company news Homestake Resource (TSXV:HSR,FWB:B6IH) announced the extension of silver-lead-zinc mineralization through surface soil and rock sampling on the Kinskuch project. The company has also identified a parallel copper-gold zone on the property. Sandstorm Gold (TSX:SSL,AMEX:SAND) entered into a gold-stream agreement with Mutiny Gold (ASX:MYG) in order to acquire the Deflector project in Western Australia. Sandstorm will be making an initial upfront cash payment of US$9 million to Mutiny as well as future remittance of $29 million once Mutiny acquires the final permits for Deflector. Sandstorm will be purchasing an amount equal to 15 percent of the gold produced at Deflector. Nolan Watson, president and CEO of Sandstorm, commented, "[t]he Deflector Project is expected to be a high-grade, low-cost producer and we believe there is significant exploration upside on the property. Australia has a number of excellent assets and we hope this deal is the first of many in the country."