Officials at Canada’s titan Barrick Gold Corp. and U.S.-headquartered Newmont Mining Corp. have announced a breakdown in merger talks, ending the latest attempt more than 20 years to combine two of the world’s largest gold producers while facilitating savings from their adjacent Nevada mining operations.
Talks between Greenwood Village, Colorado-headquartered Newmont and Toronto-based Barrick broke down April 18 after two weeks, over cost-cutting strategies. A driving force was gold plunging by 28% in 2013, the steepest drop in three decades, generating $30 billion of overall gold-mining sector writedowns.
“Although Barrick believes the interests of shareholders are best served through this combination, Newmont’s board has determined the interests of shareholders are best served remaining independent,” Barrick, the No. 1 gold miner, said in a statement; outgoing Chairman Peter Munk, meanwhile, criticized Newmont in an interview with Canada’s Financial Post for barring media from its recent annual meeting.
Newmont’s Chairman Vincent Calarco, for his part, cited other reasons the deal was scuttled. “While our team found your management constructive and professional, the same cannot be said of discussions with your co-chairman on fundamental issues,” he said in a letter to Barrick’s board made public on Monday.
Best synergies from a Barrick-Newmont agreement, according to analysts, would have originated from a combination of their overlapping operations in Nevada, where the companies produce more than one-third of their ore.
In all, Newmont produced 1.77 million gold oz in Nevada in 2013, according to company officials, 35% of its total 5.07 million oz output. Barrick’s Nevada production, meanwhile, stood at 2.79 million oz, said company representatives, representing 39% of last year’s total. Both companies are equal partners in Australia’s Kalgoorlie mine and jointly own the Turquoise Ridge mine in Nevada, with Barrick controlling 75%.