Barrick Gold in talks to sell off smaller Australian mines
Barrick Gold, the world's largest producer of the metal by sales, is in talks to sell more assets as it seeks to reduce operating costs and focus on its most efficient mines.
The company, which last month agreed to sell three Australian mines, is in talks about selling additional assets in the country, chief executive Jamie Sokalsky said at the Denver Gold Forum.
The Toronto-based company is mulling over the sale of other assets around the world and would consider a joint venture with US competitor Newmont Mining in Nevada to reduce costs.
Mr Sokalsky is leading efforts to improve Barrick's performance and restore profitability following gold's steepest quarterly slump in more than nine decades. Barrick will probably be targeting the sale of its smaller Plutonic and Kanowna operations in Australia, according to RBS Morgans.
"They are fringe assets for Barrick, and they are attractive to others," said James Wilson, a Perth-based analyst at RBS Morgans. They may attract bids from companies including Evolution Mining and Norton Gold Fields, he said.
The company took $US8.7 billion ($9.2 billion) of write-downs in the second quarter, and cut its dividend to improve its liquidity.
South Africa's Gold Fields said last month it would pay $US300 million for Barrick's interests in the Granny Smith, Lawlers and Darlot goldmines in Western Australia. Barrick's remaining Australian assets include the Cowal mine and a 50 per cent stake in the Kalgoorlie Super Pit mine, which it was unlikely to sell, Mr Wilson said. The company said in August it would either sell, close or reduce output at 12 of its 27 mines, which are located across five continents.