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U.S. Silver & Gold Sees Private-Equity Interest in Deals

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March 6 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. Silver & Gold Inc., a producer of silver in Montana and Idaho, said private-equity firms are interested in helping finance acquisitions of precious-metals projects.

The company, which currently is focused on studying and developing its own assets, may be ready to start looking for purchases by around mid-year, Chief Executive Officer Darren Blasutti said. Private-equity firms, drawn by cheap mining-company valuations, are “all talking about precious metals now,” he said in an interview yesterday at the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada convention in Toronto.

“We probably have four or five guys that would put somewhere between $50 million and $100 million into a deal,” Blasutti said. “They need us as a management team to build, we need their capital, valuations are cheap, so I think you’re going to see more of that happen.”

U.S. Silver & Gold was formed last year when U.S. Silver Corp. bought RX Gold & Silver Inc. in a C$31.5 million ($30.5 million) all-stock deal. The company expects to increase production from its existing assets from 2.6 million ounces of silver last year to an annual rate of more than 5 million ounces by the end of 2015, Blasutti said.

U.S. Silver & Gold dropped 0.7 percent to C$1.49 at the close in Toronto. The shares have fallen 55 percent in the past year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Liezel Hill in Toronto at lhill30@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Simon Casey at scasey4@bloomberg.net

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