UPDATE 1-Goldcorp briefly eclipses Barrick by market cap

Wed Nov 7, 2012 6:01pm EST
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By Julie Gordon

TORONTO Nov 7 (Reuters) - Goldcorp Inc briefly surpassed Barrick Gold Corp to become the world's biggest gold miner by market capitalization this week, even though Barrick owns more mines and produces far more gold than its growth-focused peer.

Barrick battled back late on Wednesday to land slightly above Goldcorp.

Goldcorp has been creeping up on Barrick for years, but this week was the first time the smaller producer surpassed the longtime top dog, which is under pressure due to delays and rising costs at its massive Pascua-Lama gold and silver project on the border between Chile and Argentina.

"It's not necessarily that Goldcorp is doing so well, it's just that Barrick is doing so poorly," said John Ing, president and mining analyst at Maison Placements Canada in Toronto.

Pascua-Lama, which is now expected to cost up to $8.5 billion to build, will be the most expensive gold mine ever constructed, he said.

"That, together with disappointing earnings reflecting a narrowing of margins, really deflated enthusiasm for the world's so-called leader among the gold miners," Ing said.

Barrick stock has fallen nearly 23 percent since the beginning of 2012, while Goldcorp stock has been buoyed by better-than-expected third-quarter earnings. Goldcorp is down 3.1 percent this year.   Continued...