Barrick Gold Corp. has sold 50% of Barrick (Niugini) Ltd. (BNL) to Chinese mining company Zijin Mining Group for $298 million.

BNL owns 95% of and manages the Porgera Joint Venture gold mine in Papua New Guinea.

“A twenty-first century mining company with global reach and the intention to become an industry leader must, by definition, have a distinctive relationship with China. This is particularly true in our industry, where China has become both the largest producer and consumer of gold, and a major source of capital and expertise for the mines of the future,” said Barrick Chairman John Thornton. “Our partnership with Zijin is the first step in a long-term strategic relationship with one of China’s leading mining companies — a multi-faceted partnership that will provide significant opportunities to work together on an ongoing basis as we continue to create value for our respective owners.”

The remaining 5% of the Porgera JV is divided between the Enga provincial government (2.5%) and local landowners (2.5%). Barrick’s share of gold production from the Porgera mine in 2014 was 493,000 oz at all-in sustaining costs of $996/oz. Production for 2015 is expected to be 500,000-550,000 oz of gold at all-in sustaining costs of $1,025/oz-$1,125/oz. At the end of 2014, Barrick had 3 million oz of proven and probable gold reserves and 4.1 million oz of measured and indicated gold resources at the Porgera mine.

“Our companies have complementary expertise and experience and share a common vision for creating long-term value,” said Zijin Chairman Chen Jinghe. “Barrick has strong international operating presence and experience as well as many of the best assets in the gold industry, while we have unrivaled access to the Chinese market, including distinctive engineering and construction management capabilities and advanced technology. We are excited to leverage our competitive strengths together, to start with at Porgera, while exploring additional joint opportunities for the future.”

By partnering with Zijin, Barrick advances two fundamental objectives set out as part of the company’s “back to the future” strategy. The first is to strengthen the company’s balance sheet; the proceeds from the transaction will be used to pay down debt. The second is to form strategic partnerships that will create long-term value for all stakeholders.

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