Barrick Gold looks to sell interest in Chile’s Zaldívar copper mine to reduce $3bn debt

27 April 2015 (Last Updated April 27th, 2015 18:30)

Barrick Gold has commenced a process to sell interest in the Zaldívar copper mine in Chile in a bid to reduce debt at least $3bn by the end of 2015.

Barrick Gold has commenced a process to sell interest in the Zaldívar copper mine in Chile in a bid to reduce debt at least $3bn by the end of 2015.

Output at the Zaldívar mine, which produced 52 million pounds in the first quarter, was impacted due to heavy rainfall event that affected mines across Chile's Atacama region.

According to the company, the mine will continue to be a steady generator of free cash flow, and production is anticipated to be 230-250 million pounds this year.

Barrick Gold confirmed the planned sale of the mine in its quarterly first quarter results release, which reported net earnings of $57m.

"Barrick Gold confirmed the planned sale of the mine in its quarterly first quarter results release, which reported net earnings of $57m."

For the quarter, gold production guidance for 2015 remains at 6.2-6.6 million ounces and costs are also expected to be 20% lower in the second half of the year.

The company implemented a new capital allocation framework at the end of 2014. It expects its portfolio to deliver up to 15% return on invested capital through metal price cycles.

For this year, the company has already identified $200m in capital expenditure reductions, with further reductions expected as it continues to implement new framework of capital allocation.

The reductions that have been identified so far have been partially offset by a rise in copper sustaining capital following Barrick Gold's decision to go ahead with operations at Lumwana.

Following this, the company's total capital expenditure guidance for 2015 has been reduced by $100m to $1.8-$2.1bn.

The company's pipeline of projects include four prefeasibility studies on growth projects in Nevada, set for completion by the end of 2015, as well as formation of a new partnership for exploration in Chile.

Barrick Gold also proposes to initiate a prefeasibility study to extend the life of the Lagunas Norte mine in Peru and is announcing a new gold discovery on the El Indio belt in Chile.