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Barrick Gold CEO Eyes Massive Retrofit Through M&A, Partnerships

Danielle Bochove and Vinicy Chan

(Bloomberg) -- Eight months into his job, Barrick Gold Corp. CEO Mark Bristow is shopping, selling and negotiating his way through a complex portfolio of assets in a massive retrofit of the global miner.

The chief executive officer of the world’s second-largest gold producer is pushing ahead with plans to sell about $1.5 billion in assets by the end of next year, while looking to buy more top-tier gold projects, in Canada and elsewhere, and invest in copper assets.

After reporting positive second-quarter earnings, Bristow also flagged the possibility Newmont Goldcorp Corp., its partner in the Kalgoorlie open-pit gold mine, may be swayed to join Barrick in selling the entire Australian asset.

“KCGM is for sale, straight up, we put the sign out,” Bristow said of its 50% stake in Kalgoorlie after Barrick released its second-quarter earnings statement. “Gary said to me, depending on the price he’ll sell it, buy it or partner it,” Bristow said, referring to Newmont CEO Gary Goldberg.

“We would consider transactions to consolidate or divest our interest in KCGM under the right valuation terms,” Omar Jabara, a spokesman for Newmont, said by email. “Beyond that we are not able to speculate.”

‘No Shortage’

Goldberg has said he’d be interested in buying Barrick’s half of Kalgoorlie at the right price. During Monday’s interview, Bristow said Northern Star Resources Ltd. is “one of the front-runners” among companies that have expressed interest in Barrick’s stake.

“We’ve got no shortage of interest in that asset -- it’s an icon in the gold industry,” Bristow said in an interview Monday, referring to Kalgoorlie. Barrick has engaged with Goldberg and “he needs to decide,” Bristow said.

Barrick shares climbed as much as 2.9% in New York trading Monday after reporting that second-quarter revenue climbed 21% and costs this year will be at the lower end of forecasts. The company’s shares later closed 0.9% lower, trimming this year’s gain to 33%, still almost double the pace of bullion.

Among countries targeted for deals, Barrick is keen to buy more mines in Canada and is actively looking for opportunities. “We’re under-invested in Canada: watch this space,” he said. “We don’t want to buy companies; we’re after assets.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Danielle Bochove in Toronto at dbochove1@bloomberg.net;Vinicy Chan in Hong Kong at vchan91@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Luzi Ann Javier at ljavier@bloomberg.net, Steven Frank

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