Catalpa Resources and Conquest Mining have entered into a binding transaction agreement to form a merged entity that will purchase Newcrest Mining’s interests in the Cracow and Mt Rawdon gold mines in Queensland, Australia.

The merged entity will issue shares to Newcrest as consideration for its assets, and will undertake a pro-rata renounceable entitlement offer to raise about A$150m (US$159m) following completion of the merger and asset acquisition.

Catalpa Resources chairman Peter Maloney said combining these assets will create a leading Australian gold company that will have a strong suite of production and development assets with significant exploration upside, a dynamic management team and a supportive major shareholder.

The merger entity will have five Australian gold projects with an estimated total production of 294,000oz of gold in 2011, and will be increased to 400,000-450,000oz of gold equivalent by 2013.