Barrick Gold encouraged by interest in U.S. gold asset sale

Barrick Gold Corp.(TSE:ABX, Mkt cap 9.78B, P/E – , Div/yield 0.03/1.26, EPS -3.05, Shares 1.16B) has reported an “extremely high” level of interest in its package of six U.S. gold assets, with a deal expected to be wrapped up before the year is out, Reuters reports.

The Toronto-based firm made the package public last month in attempt to cut at least $3 billion in debt this year, which comprises: Bald Mountain, Round Mountain, Spring Valley, Ruby Hill, Hilltop and Golden Sunlight assets.

Initial interest has primarily been from North American-based miners, Barrick President Kelvin Dushnisky revealed, while suggesting that the world’s biggest gold producer is keeping an open mind as to whether or not the six U.S. gold mines and projects will be kept as a package.

“If it makes sense to split it up and we will get better value as a whole for that, we will certainly consider it,” he told Reuters in an interview at the Denver Gold Forum, an annual gold industry conference.

However, Dushnisky would not be drawn on how much the asset package might be worth, but analysts expect it to sell for somewhere in the region of $500 million and $700 million.

If the year-end sales target proves realistic, it will take Barrick over its $3 billion debt reduction target following other asset disposals and financings, including a recent so-called “streaming” deal on its Pueblo Viejo mine in the Dominican Republic.

While Dushnisky said Barrick was not contemplating any more streaming deals, he hinted that it was open to selling more noncore assets.

For the time being, however, its Lumwana copper mine in Zambia is not likely to be on the “to be sold” list, with the firm likely to wait for better copper prices, Dushnisky explained.

Barrick Gold Corp is a Toronto based gold mining company. It trades on the Toronto and New York Stock exchanges under the sumbol ABX. Barrick is engaged in the production and sale of gold and copper, plus related activities, including exploration and mine development. The Company operates in segments: eight individual gold mines, Acacia and Pascua-Lama project. The remaining operating segments have been grouped into two other categories: its remaining gold mines and its two copper mines.

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