February 22, 2016 / 2:11 PM / in 2 years

Barrick estimates $2 billion costs if Nevada, Peru projects proceed

Barrick Gold Corp Chairman of the board John Thornton speaks during their annual general meeting for shareholders in Toronto, April 28, 2015. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

(Reuters) - Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO) (ABX.N), the world’s largest gold miner, estimated spending of about $2 billion if it decides to proceed with projects in Nevada and Peru.

Barrick, releasing updated pre-feasibility and feasibility studies on the projects, also said on Monday it would redeem up to $750 million of notes to help cut debt by at least $2 billion this year.

The company’s U.S.-listed shares were down about 3 percent at $12.18 in premarket trading on Monday.

Barrick said a pre-feasibility study estimated $1 billion in initial capital spending on its Goldrush project in Nevada, based on a start of construction in 2020.

The project would produce 440,000 ounces of gold a year, with all-in sustaining costs of $665 per ounce.

Another pre-feasibility study estimated that $640 million would be needed to extend the life of the Lagunas Norte project in Peru by about nine years.

The Toronto-based miner said a feasibility study showed $300 million to $325 million would be required to boost production at its Turquoise Ridge mine in Nevada.

The proposed Cortez project in the state, which is in the pre-feasibilty stage, would require an estimated $153 million, with a construction start in 2019-2020.

Barrick said it expected to maintain annual production of at least 4.5 million ounces of gold through 2020.

The company, which has one of the highest debt loads of any gold miner, has been selling its non-core assets and had cut debt by $3 billion last year.

The miner had outstanding debt of about $9.77 billion as of Dec. 31.

(Corrects headline and text throughout to make clear that the figures are based on pre-feasiblity and feasibility studies and that the company has not made final decisions on construction)

Reporting by Amrutha Gayathri in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta

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