Dutch firm La Mancha Group is reportedly planning to acquire underground gold mines in Africa from Canadian mining giant Barrick Gold.

La Mancha Group chairman Naguib Sawiris was reported by Reuters as saying that the acquisition will be explored after Barrick completes its $6.1bn merger with Randgold Resources.

Speaking at the Mines and Money conference in London, Sawiris said: “[The Barrick disposals] might be in geographies where we are very strong and that makes sense for us. We can extend the mine lives.”

La Mancha intends to buy assets each with a mine life of at least ten years and with annual production of 150,000-250,000oz.

The company already has investments in Endeavour Mining, Evolution Mining. In October this year, the gold miner purchased a 30% interest in Ghana-focused Golden Star Resources.

According to Sawiris, Golden Star will look to buy assets in east Africa, particularly Sudan.

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“[The Barrick disposals] might be in geographies where we are very strong and that makes sense for us.”

The announcement of the plans comes after Barrick indicated that it will divest certain non-core assets after the Randgold deal is closed in January.

Underlining the need for greater consolidation in the mining industry, Sawiris was quoted by the news agency as saying: “We believe today is the problem is the whole mining industry needs consolidation and the proof to that the two big ones decided to merge but what about the smaller ones.

“There is more sense and more urgency for the smaller mining companies to come together than for the bigger ones.”