Barrick Gold to sell 2 more Australian mines

Toronto-based Barrick Gold Corp. is in talks to sell two more of its Australian gold mines, says CEO Jamie Sokalsky.

Company seeks return to profitability after gold price falls

A pickup truck drives into the 200-metre deep Ruby Hill Mine outside Eureka, Nev., one of Barrick's 27 mines around the world. The company is in talks to sell two of its Australian properties. (Douglas C. Pizac/Associated Press)

Toronto-based Barrick Gold Corp. is in talks to sell two more of its Australian gold mines, says CEO Jamie Sokalsky.

Jamie Sokalsky spoke at the Denver Gold Forum about the sale of two smaller operations in Australia, most likely the Plutonic and Kanowna operations in western Australia, according to the Bloomberg news agency.

Analysts say Kanowna is valued at $55 million US and Plutonic at about $45 million US.

The company agreed to sell three Australian mines last month to South Africa’s Gold Fields Ltd. — the Granny Smith, Lawlers and Darlot gold mines.

Barrick is the biggest gold miner in the world but is seeking to sell assets as the price of gold declines.

Barrick’s stock is down 45 per cent this year in Toronto, trading at $19.42 Cdn on Wednesday, and the company
took $8.7 billion of writedowns in the second quarter, as well as cutting its dividend to improve liquidity.

Sokalsky looking to sell 'non-core assets'

Sokalsky is leading efforts to improve Barrick’s performance and restore profitability.The company said in August it plans to either sell, close or reduce output at 12 of its 27 mines.

"It's no secret that some of the Australian assets fit the kind of description that I've talked about in terms of being non-core and assets that are higher-cost and I think don't fit well long term with our portfolio," Sokalsky said in Denver.

"We are talking to some people about those assets, and then various assets around the world which I wouldn't want to name," he said.

The company also has talked to Nevada-based Newmont Mines about a possible joint venture to cut costs.

There have been reports that institutional investors are putting pressure on Barrick to put more independent investors on its board and quicken founder Peter Munk's exit.

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