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Barrick Gold to sell three Australian mines for $300 mln; shares gain

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Barrick Gold Corp. (NYSE:ABX), the world’s biggest producer of the precious metal by volume, rose in premarket trading after agreeing to sell three of its Australian mines to South Africa-based miner Gold Fields Ltd. (NYSE:GFI) for $300 million.

The shares advanced 2 percent to $19.44 at 8:35 a.m. in New York.

Proceeds of the deal, expected to close on Oct. 1, will be used for general corporate purposes, including debt repayment, and will be recorded in the fourth quarter, Toronto, Ontario-based Barrick said in a statement today.

The three mines, located in Western Australia and known as the Yilgarn South assets, produced a total of 452,000 ounces of gold in 2012 and a further 196,000 ounces in the first half of this year, Barrick said.

"The agreement to divest Yilgarn South demonstrates further progress as we work to optimize the company's portfolio and maximize free cash flow in line with our disciplined approach to capital allocation," Chief Executive Officer Jamie Sokalsky, who took over in June last year, said in the statement.

Barrick is working to slash operating costs by lowering capital spending and staffing levels as gold miners face some of the industry's most unstable times in more than a decade when gold prices have declined 28 percent from their 2011 peak.

Barrick's adjusted earnings slid to 66 cents a share in the second quarter ended June 30, from 82 cents a share in the year-earlier period.

The stock has plunged 45 percent since the beginning of the year.

Quick facts: Barrick Gold Corp.

Price: 35.21 CAD

TSX:ABX
Market: TSX
Market Cap: $62.61 billion
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