July 18 (Bloomberg) -- Goldcorp Inc. expressed an interest in buying African gold mines from Newmont Mining Corp. earlier this year during merger talks between Newmont and its largest rival, according to people familiar with the situation.
Goldcorp explored the possibility of acquiring mines in Ghana as part of the potential combination of Newmont and Barrick Gold Corp., said the people, who asked not to be named because the discussions were private.
Talks between Barrick and Newmont about a merger broke down in April. The deal the two miners had considered would have included the spinoff of some of the combined company’s assets, two people familiar with the matter said at the time.
Buying the Ghana assets would mark a departure for Goldcorp, which only has mines in the Americas. Chief Executive Officer Chuck Jeannes said in September that the Vancouver-based company is focused on large deposits with low costs and long lives. In April he said Goldcorp is looking in locations with low political risk.
In April, around the same time the Barrick-Newmont discussions faltered, Goldcorp terminated a hostile C$3.3 billion ($3.1 billion) bid for Osisko Mining Corp., a Canadian gold producer that agreed to be bought by two other companies.
Christine Marks, a Goldcorp spokeswoman, and Omar Jabara, a Newmont spokesman, declined to comment on the Ghana assets.
Newmont’s Ahafo and Akyem mines in Ghana accounted for 12 percent of company revenue in 2013, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Greenwood Village, Colorado-based Newmont is considering expanding a processing plant and constructing a new underground mine in the West African country.
Canada’s Barrick is the world’s largest gold miner by revenue and Newmont is the third-biggest.
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