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Barrick Gold Corp. is shutting a major American office and dismantling its copper unit, the company’s latest steps to cut costs and overhaul operations amid the slump in gold prices.
The closing of its Salt Lake City office along with the unwinding of its copper business will help the world’s biggest gold producer save $2-billion (U.S.) by the end of next year, the company said.
Four years of declining gold prices have forced a broad retreat at Barrick and battered the company’s share price. In addition to selling a slew of mines and non-core assets, Barrick recently reduced its dividend again and sold a stake in its top copper mine in Chile as well as part of one of its most profitable gold mines, in the Dominican Republic.
Barrick’s Salt Lake office, which employs about 110 staff, will close in November after supporting the miner’s core Nevada operations for nearly two decades. It follows the shutdown of Barrick’s Perth bureau and job cuts in its Santiago office.
Barrick’s standalone copper unit, which was established after the miner bought pure copper company Equinox Minerals Ltd., will no longer be a distinct division within the company. The copper unit’s managers and staff will be laid off and the overhead expenses associated with the separate business will be cut.
“This is not simply about cost cutting,” said Barrick spokesman Andy Lloyd. “All these actions will contribute to our target of $2-billion in costs savings … but importantly they are also making us a leaner and faster-moving company,” he said.
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