Another massive merger in the gold mining sector could be in the works as sources have told Reuters that Barrick Gold Corp. is in discussions with Newmont Mining to combine their gold mining operations in Nevada.
Both sides have not spoken officially about the possibility of merging the Nevada operations but rumors of the deal have increased following Barrick;s $1.6 billion takeover of Randgold Resources in October. Newmont and Barrick, the two largest gold mining companies in the world explored the possibility of working together in Nevada in 2014 but did not reach a deal then. One source told Reuters that talks might resume because there is new management team in place because of the Barrick and Randgold merger.
Newmont produced 1.8 million ounces of gold in Nevada in 2017 and has processing capacity which would benefit Barrick Nevada, which produced 2.3 million ounces or 43 percent of its owner’s 2017 output in 2017.
This included a joint venture at Turquoise Ridge mine, which is 25 percent owned by Newmont and annual savings from a combination of Newmont and Barrick’s Nevada assets could reach up to $300 million, according to analysts estimates. “They are looking to turn Nevada into a free cash flow machine and this is the easiest way to do it,” one source said.
Both Randgold and Barrick are focused on closing the deal after shareholder votes this week and will begin consolidating the combined business, including the sale of assets.
Barrick is likely to hold on to its copper mines after the Randgold takeover, even as it embarks on disposing of non-core assets, one of the sources added, betting on the metal used in construction, renewable energy and electric vehicles.
In October, Barrick’s Executive Chairman John Thornton said the miner was in “slow-motion, long-term conversations” with partners in Saudi Arabia and China interested in its copper assets, which collectively produced 413 kt (458,000 st) and about 7 percent of revenue in 2017.