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Iamgold Corp. says it is selling its 18.9-per-cent stake in two gold mines in Ghana, West Africa, to Gold Fields Ltd. for $667-million (U.S.), the company announced Friday.

Closing of the sale of the Tarkwa and Damang gold mines, subject to approval by Gold Fields' shareholders, is expected no later than the end of July.

"This sale is the first of several strategic initiatives to create value for our shareholders," said Iamgold president and CEO Steve Letwin.

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"We cannot fully leverage our skills and experience in developing and operating mines if we are not the operator and have (only) a minority interest in the mine."

Mr. Letwin said the transaction will leave Iamgold with more than $1-billion in cash, cash equivalents and gold bullion, plus and undrawn credit facility of $350-million.

In 2010, gold production attributable to Iamgold from the Tarkwa mine was 139,000 ounces and attributable production from the Damang mine was 43,000 ounces. Iamgold said it will update production guidance and cash costs as a result of the sale.

Iamgold is a mid-tier gold mining company with attributable production of about one million ounces annually from eight gold mines, including current joint ventures and working interests, in West Africa, South America and Canada. It also operates Niobec, a niobium mine in Quebec.

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