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Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris is set to launch a new investment vehicle to acquire gold-mining assets across the world, expanding on the nearly $1.5bn he has sunk into the sector.

The vehicle under Mr Sawiris’s La Mancha Group will be headed by Andrew Wray, the outgoing chief financial officer of London-listed Acacia Mining, according to three people familiar with the move. Mr Wray will start the job in January, they said.

The company will look at buying operational gold mines in any jurisdiction, including Latin America and Central Asia, the people said.

The move comes as listed gold miners have underperformed the gold price this decade, leading investors to call for new management and better capital allocation.

While the price of gold has fallen 4 per cent since November 2013, gold equities have lost 10.4 per cent, according to the VanEck Gold Miners exchange-traded fund.

Mr Wray is a Spanish-speaker who joined Tanzania-focused Acacia Mining in September 2013.

Mr Wray met Mr Sawiris last year when Endeavour Mining held discussions over a possible merger with Tanzania-focused Acacia Mining to create a £3bn London-listed gold miner. The talks was later called off.

Earlier this month Mr Wray announced he would step down from Acacia following a months-long stand-off with Tanzania’s president, who demanded the company pay almost $200bn in taxes and fines. Acacia has been unable to export from the east African country since March.

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