Barrick Gold has come clean about the bidding for its stake in the Super Pit gold mine in Kalgoorlie-Boulder, revealing that Northern Star Resources is amongst the frontrunners.
The Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines (KCGM) Super Pit joint venture between Barrick and Newmont Goldcorp has been the topic of M&A discussions since at least 2015.
It was rumoured that a deal for the Western Australian mine involving Northern Star would be announced at the Diggers and Dealers Mining Forum last week, but nothing eventuated.
Barrick chief executive officer Mark Bristow, in a second quarter conference call, said the Newmont Goldcorp-operated Super Pit was the only asset in the company’s portfolio which could be performing better.
“Whilst it continues to be a valuable asset, we are moving down the road of selling our 50 per cent stake in this archon of gold mining,” Bristow said.
“Given we are not the operators, it does not fit with our falters as we do not want to be passive investors in assets that we own.”
Bristow elaborated on his comments in an interview with Bloomberg, saying that Northern Star was one of the front runners amongst the companies that had expressed interest in the Canadian company’s stake.
He added that Barrick had received “no shortage of interest” in a site that he described as an icon of the gold mining sector.
Barrick’s share of production from the Super Pit during the June quarter was 57,000 ounces, up four per cent on the 55,000 ounces recorded in the previous quarter.
In the June 2018 quarter, Barrick’s share of production from the Super Pit was 96,000 ounces, 41 per cent higher than the same period this year.
Output at the Super Pit has dropped significantly since a rockfall at the Fimiston open pit impacted operations last May.