(Adds quote, details)
ABIDJAN, March 22 Ivory Coast's government has
approved the sale of state miner Sodemi's 30 percent stake in
the Ity gold project to Canada's Endeavour Mining and a
group of investors led by former national soccer star Didier
Drogba, a government spokesman said.
Endeavour will take a 25 percent stake, making it 80 percent
owner of the project, and the Didier Drogba Group will pick up 5
percent, bringing its total stake to 10 percent, Bruno Kone said
on Wednesday. The Ivorian state holds the remaining 10 percent.
"This transaction will allow (Endeavour) to execute its 200
billion CFA franc ($327 million) investment plan," Kone said,
following a cabinet meeting in the commercial capital Abidjan.
Last year Endeavour announced it expected to deliver average
production of 114,000 ounces per year over Ity's 14-year mine
Drogba, who most recently played for Major League Soccer's
Montreal Impact but won fame during an eight-year stint at
Chelsea, took a 5 percent stake in the mine in 2013 in a sign of
his increasing engagement in his homeland.
($1 = 610.8800 CFA francs)
(Reporting by Loucoumane Coulibaly; Writing by Joe Bavier,
editing by David Evans)