Merger talks between Barrick Gold and Newmont Mining have failed, marking the latest of several failed attempts in the past two decades to combine the leading gold producers.

Barrick said in a statement that, since signing a term sheet for a proposed merger on 8 April, Newmont has sought to re-negotiate on three fundamental elements, including the location of the head office for the merger, the spinning-off of some assets into a separate company and the issue of governance, with respect to the roles of the chairman, lead director and CEO.

"Our efforts to find consensus have been rejected out-of-hand repeatedly."

"Although Barrick believes the interests of shareholders are best served through the completion of this business combination, Newmont’s Board has determined that the interests of Newmont’s shareholders are best served by remaining independent," the company said.

Newmont stated that it did not renege and disagrees with Barrick’s description of the events leading to the decision and blamed Barrick’s co-chairman John Thornton for making a ‘unilateral declaration’ that the talks were over.

Newmont chairman Vincent A Calarco said: "Our efforts to find consensus have been rejected out-of-hand repeatedly."

With operations in five continents and about 13% of global gold production, the companies expected the merger to generate annual savings of $1bn.

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Barrick and Newmont together operate the Kalgoorlie mine in Australia, and the Turquoise Ridge mine in Nevada.