Little appetite for Barrick Gold’s Super Pit stake – by Bridget Carter and Gretchen Friemann (The Australian – August 4, 2016)

It’s the billion-dollar goldmine that no one seems to want.

The announcement last week from Canada’s Barrick Gold that it intended to sell its 50 per cent stake in Kalgoorlie’s giant Super Pit, arguably Australia’s most famous goldmine, has created plenty of buzz in and around this week’s big Diggers & Dealers mining forum.

Unfortunately for Barrick and its hopes of securing anywhere near the $900 million price tag mooted for its stake, that buzz had been overwhelmingly negative.

While almost every gold play at the conference has been talking up their appetite for deals, those same gold plays have all but unanimously ruled out any interest in the Super Pit stake.

The challenges facing Barrick and its advisers are many. Barrick is not the operator of the mine — that honour lies with the mine’s other 50 per cent owner, Newmont — meaning a buyer would hand over a lot of money but have a limited say in the mine’s operations.

Then there’s the costly remediation headaches that will be faced by whoever happens to own the mine whenever it ends production.

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