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Barrick Gold rises on sale of more assets in western Australia

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Barrick Gold (NYSE:ABX)(TSE:ABX) shares were rising in Toronto on Thursday after the company said it has agreed to sell its interest in the Kanowna Belle and Kundana mine operations in western Australia to Northern Star Resources for a total of A$75 million. 

The deal is expected to close in March of this year. 

Shares of Barrick were up 3.9% in afternoon trade Thursday, after the announcement of the divestment last night, at $21.62. So far this year, the stock has advanced more than 15% after taking a serious tumble last year amid a declining gold price. 

Over the past six months, the company has announced a series of divestitures of short life, high cost and non-core assets, for a total consideration of about $850 million. 

As of December 31, 2012, Kanowna contained proven and probable reserves of 0.6 million ounces, and the mine produced about 225,000 ounces in 2013. 

The deal follows a similar transaction last month, in which Barrick agreed to sell to Northern Star its Plutonic gold mine in western Australia for a total of A$25 million.

The divestments come after a terrible year for the miner, with 2013 marking a period of write-downs, cost overruns and a shareholder rebellion over executive compensation, most notably co-chair John Thornton's multi-million dollar signing bonus amid a cratering gold market. 

Earlier in December, the gold giant announced a series of high level personnel changes, starting with news that founder and chair Peter Munk is to step down from the Toronto-headquartered miner’s board of directors at Barrick's next annual meeting of shareholders. Thornton, Munk’s co-chair since 2012, will attempt to fill the 86-year-old’s shoes, taking over the position of chairman effective as of the same meeting, likely to occur in late April.

Quick facts: Barrick Gold Corp.

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