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Report: Barrick CEO says Northern Star is possible bidder for Super Pit stake

Barrick Gold Corp. CEO Mark Bristow claimed that Northern Star Resources Ltd. is a prime candidate to potentially acquire Barrick's 50% stake in the Kalgoorlie Super Pit gold joint venture with Newmont Goldcorp Corp. in Western Australia, The Australian Financial Review reported Aug. 13.

This was after the Toronto-headquartered miner confirmed it is divesting its joint venture stake due to the mine's underperformance as costs have soared with lower production forecast in the wake of a pit wall failure in May 2018.

Bristow said the operation is the lone asset in its portfolio that could be performing better.

"Whilst it continues to be a valuable asset we are moving down the road of selling our 50 percent stake in this icon of gold mining. Given we are not the operators it does not fit with our filters as we do not want to be passive investors in assets that we own," the AFR quoted Bristow as saying.

Meanwhile, Newmont Goldcorp may either divest its stake or bid to acquire Barrick's stake in joint venture company Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines Pty. Ltd., depending on the valuation of Barrick's stake in the mine, based on Bristow's conversations with Newmont Goldcorp CEO Gary Goldberg.

"[Goldberg is] agnostic on how that works out. If somebody came with a really big price, he's got to be tempted to consider selling the whole lot with us," Bristow said.

In a separate Aug. 12 Reuters report, Bristow denied that the miner is considering selling its Tongon mine in Cote d'Ivoire and the Massawa project in Senegal but said the company is open to various options for both properties.

"We're spending a lot of exploration dollars trying to extend Tongon's life," the chief executive told the newswire, adding that Barrick is open to acquiring assets around Tongon from junior miners to extend its life or selling the mine as part of a bigger transaction, potentially with Massawa.

Barrick swung to a net profit attributable to shareholders of US$194 million in the second quarter from a year-ago loss of US$94 million.