MMG Ltd. will sell its 90% interest in Lane Xang Minerals (LXML), which owns the Sepon mine in Lao PDR, to Chifeng Jilong Gold Mining Co Ltd., for $275 million, the company said. Sepon’s current copper operation has a projected mine life to around 2020; however, the mine life has the potential to be extended as a primary gold operation.

MMG CEO Jerry Jiao said the agreement is a positive outcome for all stakeholders, including LXML Sepon employees, the government of the Lao PDR, and the local communities and businesses in the region.

“[Chifeng] is an experienced gold miner who is well-suited and focused on extending the life of Sepon through the transition from copper production to primary gold operations,” Jiao said. “We look forward to supporting them through a smooth ownership transition and watching with interest as they develop the next phase in the life of this great mine.”

LXML Sepon produced its first oxide gold in 2003, commencing large scale copper operations in 2005 and to date has produced more than 900,000 metric tons (mt) of copper and 1.2 million ounces (oz) of gold.

MMG has engaged Standard Chartered Bank as its financial advisor and Linklaters as its legal counsel on the transaction, which is expected to be completed in the second half of 2018.