August 5, 2015 / 9:55 PM / 3 years ago

UPDATE 2-Nearing debt target, Barrick Gold cuts dividend, eyes asset sales

(Recasts with context, adds streaming deal, other financial details)

By Nicole Mordant

Aug 5 (Reuters) - Barrick Gold Corp said on Wednesday it is making big strides toward an ambitious debt reduction target, announcing a financing deal for its Dominican mine, the planned sale of a suite of U.S. assets and a 60 percent cut to its dividend.

Barrick said it was within striking distance of its target of slashing debt by at least $3 billion this year after doing a so-called streaming deal on its stake in the Pueblo Viejo mine in the Dominican Republic that will give it $610 million upfront.

That transaction, in addition to a number of asset sales, joint ventures and some debt it had paid down “represent $2.7 billion, or 90 percent of our target,” Barrick Co-President Jim Gowans said in a statement.

At the end of June, the miner’s debt stood at $12.8 billion.

Barrick, the world’s biggest gold miner by output, has, along with mining peers globally, been hard hit by tumbling gold and other commodity prices over the past four years. Miners have responded by cutting costs and dividends and selling non-core assets.

The company said it would, in the next few weeks, start a process to sell its Bald Mountain, Round Mountain, Spring Valley, Ruby Hill, Hilltop and Golden Sunlight assets - non-core mines and projects in Nevada and Montana.

The Toronto-based company has received a number of proposals and expressions of interest in those assets, it said in its second-quarter results statement.

Barrick slashed its quarterly dividend by 60 percent to 2 cents a share, mimicking a similar action by rival Goldcorp Inc last week.

The company reported adjusted net earnings of $60 million, or 5 cents a share, for the quarter, slightly below the 6 cents a share analysts were expecting, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Reflecting the recent sale of assets, Barrick reduced its gold production forecast for 2015 to between 6.1 million and 6.4 million ounces. It previously said output would be between 6.2 million and 6.6 million ounces.

It also reduced its full-year all-in sustaining cost forecast to between $840 and $880 per ounce, from between $860 to $895 per ounce.

Barrick said it planned to cut expenditures across the company by $2 billion by the end of 2016. It said capital spending would also be reduced, to between $1.6 billion and $1.9 billion this year, 20 percent lower than in 2014. (Reporting by Nicole Mordant in Vancouver; Editing by Andrew Hay and Steve Orlofsky)

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