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AuRico shares jump on sale of Mexican asset

Gold bars.

LISI NIESNER/REUTERS

After a bumpy summer that saw its shares hit 52-week lows in September, investors of AuRico Gold Inc. gave the stock a boost Wednesday after the gold miner sold one of it key assets.

Shares rose 16 per cent in morning trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange after AuRico announced it was selling its Ocampo mine in northern Mexico for $750-million. It said it will use the proceeds to pay down debt and return capital to shareholders.

AuRico shares were up $1.03 to $7.29 on the Toronto Stock Exchange by midday, higher than a low of $5.20 in September, but still well below a 52-week high of $11.13 in November last year.

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The sale of Ocampo to Mexican miner Minera Frisco was unsolicited and included a 50-per-cent stake in the Orion development project in a neighbouring state. It comes at a time when some miners are on the prowl for opportunistic acquisitions, while others are under pressure to sell to shore-up wobbly balance sheets.

AuRico stock was hurt this summer after announcing two consecutive cuts to its production forecasts and after it chief executive officer, Rene Marion, resigned for health reasons.

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