Barrick Gold to Sell Australian Mine to Northern Star

Barrick Gold Corp. agreed to sell its Plutonic mine in Western Australia for A$25 million ($22 million) as the world’s largest producer of the metal tries to cut costs and focus on its most profitable operations.

The sale to Australia’s Northern Star Resources Ltd. is expected to close in February, the acquirer said today in a statement.

Barrick sold three other Australian mines -- Granny Smith, Lawlers and Darlot -- to Gold Fields Ltd. for $300 million in October. The company also sold its energy arm in July and last month raised $3 billion in a share sale to help the company reduce its debt. Like other gold producers, Barrick’s earnings have been hit by a 29 percent drop in the gold price this year.

Chief Executive Officer Jamie Sokalsky said Dec. 3 that the sale of the Kanowna mine in Australia was advancing. Barrick and Goldcorp Inc., a Canadian competitor, are trying to divest their jointly owned Marigold mine in Nevada, people with knowledge of the matter said on Nov. 14.

Northern Star said that buying Plutonic would increase its annual gold production to more than 200,000 ounces. The company’s financial adviser on the purchase is RBC Capital Markets and Ashurst LLP is its legal adviser.