Barrick Gold takes backseat at Australia's Super Pit

Wed Apr 29, 2015 3:15am EDT
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SYDNEY, April 29 (Reuters) - Canada's Barrick Gold will relinquish some management duties at Australia's Super Pit gold mine to partner Newmont Mining, in a further pull-back from operations in the Southern Hemisphere

Barrick, the world's biggest gold producer, has already sold three mines in Australia and is taking bids on a fourth in a bid to lower net debt by about $3 billion. It is also trying to sell the Porgera gold mine in neighbouring Papua New Guinea.

Barrick had about $13 billion in debt at the end of 2014.

Barrick and Denver-based Newmont have long been 50-50 partners in the Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines (KCGM), which operates the Super Pit, at one stage Australia's biggest gold mine.

The companies had agreed that due to Barrick's reduced presence in Australia, Newmont would "provide greater direction and support to operation of the mine", KCGM acting general manager Ian Butler said in comments emailed to Reuters.

The ownership structure of the operation would not change, Butler said.

Australian gold mines are changing hands at a fast clip at a turning point in the gold cycle, according to analysts and mining executives.

After years of losing money or just breaking even, many are back in the black thanks in part to a weakening Australian dollar.

Evolution Mining is looking to buy more gold mines after reaching a $230 million deal to acquire two locally producing mines from Luxembourg-based La Mancha Group International BV.   Continued...