Glencore, Barrick Gold Looking to Sell Tanzania Nickel Project – by Alistair MacDonald and Scott Patterson (Wall Street Journal – May 13, 2015)

While Kabanga’s ore is of a high grade, a sale may be difficult given the size of the field of potential buyers

Mining giants Glencore PLC and Barrick Gold Corp. are looking to sell a joint nickel development project in Tanzania, according to people familiar with the matter, in a sales process that may struggle amid volatility in the pricing of this metal.

The two mining giants each own half of the Kabanga nickel project in northwest Tanzania and have been touting the property for several months, according to the people familiar with the matter. Neither company has hired a bank to sell the property, according to two of these people.

The asset is one of many that have been put up for sale in recent years as miners rejig their portfolios and raise money to mend battered balance sheets.

Glencore Chief Executive Ivan Glasenberg has repeatedly said he is focused on purchasing developed mines and that he isn’t interested in so-called greenfield projects, which require hefty cash outlays.

Barrick Gold is selling assets as it looks to reduce its debt pile by $3 billion before the end of the year. The Toronto-based gold miner tried to sell its stake in Kabanga two years ago and hired a bank to tout the asset.

Some bankers believe that, while Kabanga’s ore is of a high grade, the sale will be as difficult this time around. Given the size of the nickel market the field of potential buyers remains smaller than in other metals, from gold to iron ore. Kabanaga is also considered in a remote location with little infrastructure.

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