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Barrick Gold seeking more Chinese partners after Shandong Gold deal

Barrick Gold Corp. will explore further cooperation opportunities with Shandong Gold Mining Co. Ltd. while continuing to search for more Chinese partners, according to chief innovation officer Michelle Ash.

Ash said in an interview with S&P Global Market Intelligence on the sidelines of the Mines and Money Asia conference in Hong Kong on April 7 that it has been a strategic move for the company to strengthen connections with Chinese enterprises, referring to its strategic partner Zijin Mining Group Co. Ltd., another Chinese gold major.

The company recently signed a deal to sell a 50% stake in the Veladero gold mine in Argentina to Shandong Gold for US$960 million, while Barrick Gold and Zijin Mining formed a partnership in 2015 after the latter sold a 50% stake in the Porgera gold mine in Papua New Guinea for US$298 million.

Ash believed Barrick Gold would "potentially extend the cooperation with Shandong Gold," given the latter's technical expertise as well as the similar corporate culture of the two companies.

Meanwhile, the company also sees potential in establishing new partnerships with other Chinese enterprises, as it moves to grow its global influence, according to Ash.

"Zijin is our strategic partner and we certainly hope to establish more partnerships with Chinese companies," she said.

In addition to deals with Zijin Mining and Shandong Gold, Barrick Gold is also selling a 50% stake in the Kalgoorlie gold mine's Super Pit in Western Australia for US$1.3 billion to Chinese real estate developer Shandong Tyan Home Co., Ltd.

Ash added that the innovation team at Barrick Gold was also in discussions with companies in Beijing, Shanghai and San Francisco in a search for technologies that can help improve the company's mining operations.