LONDON (Reuters) - Canada's Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) is in preliminary discussions with China National Gold Group Corporation over its 74 percent stake in unit African Barrick Gold ABGL.L, the world's largest gold producer said on Thursday.
"Discussions are at an early stage, and there can be no certainty that these discussions will result in the acquisition of all or part of Barrick's holding in ABG," Barrick Gold said, confirming an earlier report.
"Barrick has adopted a renewed focus on maximizing shareholder value through a disciplined capital allocation program ... The preliminary discussions relating to ABG form part of this program," it said.
In a separate statement, ABG said that should China Gold acquire more than 30 percent of the voting rights in the company, it would be required to make an offer for a full take over. ABG is Tanzania's largest gold producer.
The Financial Times earlier quoted one person with knowledge of the discussions who suggested that Zijin Mining Group, the Chinese copper and gold miner, had indicated a preliminary interest in African Barrick.
The newspaper also said that Barrick has been working with investment bank UBS to consider its options for African Barrick, which the Canadian miner spun off in 2010.
However, a second person familiar with the situation, cited in the FT article, said that Barrick's team had abruptly halted work on a possible sale this week, throwing into doubt whether the Canadian company will proceed.
Reporting by Stephen Mangan and Brenda Goh; editing by Clara Ferreira-Marques