Photographer: Carla Gottgens/Bloomberg

Barrick Sale of Super Pit Stake to China Buyer Stalls

  • Minjar Gold still seeking clearance from Chinese regulators
  • Chinese company yet to secure funding for $1.3 billion deal

Barrick Gold Corp.’s plan to sell its stake in the Kalgoorlie Super Pit mine to a Chinese bidder has stalled, as the buyer faces delays securing financing for the $1.3 billion deal, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Minjar Gold Pty, a unit of property developer Shandong Tyan Home Co., is also still seeking Chinese regulatory clearance for the purchase, according to the people. Barrick is awaiting an outcome and remains interested in selling to Minjar, which outbid other suitors by a large margin, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. 

Barrick may still decide to re-enter talks with other buyers or keep its 50 percent stake in the Western Australia asset, which is the country’s largest open-pit gold mine, the people said.

Shares in Barrick rose 1.4 percent in trading Wednesday to $19.59 a piece as of 9:48 a.m. in New York.

While Chinese companies’ willingness to offer top-dollar prices helped fuel a $248 billion overseas acquisition spree last year, they’ve struggled at times to close transactions. In December, Chinese agencies including the National Development and Reform Commission said they’re closely watching “irrational” outbound purchases amid a broader effort by the government to limit capital outflows.

Australia’s Northern Star Resources Ltd. and Evolution Mining Ltd. were among companies that reviewed data on the Super Pit mine ahead of indicative bids, people familiar with the matter said in October. Barrick’s joint venture partner Newmont Mining Corp., the mine’s operator, remains a viable bidder for the stake, Chief Executive Officer Gary Goldberg said in December. 

Representatives for Barrick and Minjar Gold declined to comment. An investor-relations official at Shandong Tyan said he can’t comment, as the company is in the midst of a major asset restructuring. Newmont has expressed its interest in participating in “any extension of Barrick’s sale process,” spokesman Omar Jabara said by e-mail.

Minjar Gold, which acquired its Kirkalocka project in 2015, last year agreed to buy the Pajingo mine from Sydney-based Evolution Mining for A$52 million ($40 million), according to an Aug. 16 statement.

Gold producers have been reining in costs and selling assets even as they benefit from a rebound in the price of the metal, which is hoarded in times of uncertainty as a hedge against volatile markets. Toronto-based Barrick, the world’s largest gold miner, has sold interests in several Australian gold mines since 2013. 

The company is in talks with Endeavour Mining Corp. to explore a merger with its part-owned African unit Acacia Mining Plc, people familiar with the matter said this month.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.
LEARN MORE