Barrick to sell research unit and cut digital jobs

10 December 2018 (Last Updated December 10th, 2018 11:14)

Barrick Gold is reportedly set to sell its research and development company AuTec Innovative Extractive Solutions and cut jobs related to its 'digital reinvention' programme.

Barrick Gold is reportedly set to sell its research and development company AuTec Innovative Extractive Solutions and cut jobs related to its ‘digital reinvention’ programme.

The move comes ahead of the closure of the company’s $6bn acquisition of Randgold Resources. The transaction received clearance from the South African Competition Tribunal in November and is expected to be completed next month.

Barrick incoming CEO Mark Bristow stated that he is planning to offload non-core assets, cut costs and downsize head-office management to allow regional mining operations to have more authority.

Based in Vancouver, Canada, AuTec specialises in testing mineral samples and processing, and serves the mining industry.

The WSJ report also revealed that Barrick had disbanded or shrunk technology-based teams at its head office in Toronto and at mining operations in Nevada.

“Barrick incoming CEO Mark Bristow stated that he is planning to offload non-core assets, cut costs and downsize head-office management to boost regional mining operations.”

According to unnamed sources cited by Wall Street Journal, the teams were set up to work on the development of software for tracking sensors on underground mining staff. Teams were also intended to be responsible for collecting data on processing equipment that could assist in deciding when maintenance was required.

Last month, Barrick chief digital officer Sham Chotai severed ties with the company.

An unidentified Barrick spokesperson said technology ‘will continue to be a key driver’.

The miner is also selling its Lagunas Norte gold mine in Peru and has recently appointed bankers to pursue the sale.

Furthermore, the sources added that the company is considering the sale of its Hemlo gold mine in Canada and its 50% interest in the Kalgoorlie gold facility in Australia. Newmont Mining holds the remaining 50% stake in the Kalgoorlie mine.

Meanwhile, Dutch firm La Mancha Group chairman Naguib Sawiris told Reuters last month that the company intends to acquire underground gold mines in Africa from Barrick.