Gold geeks will have to wait for Newmont Mining Corp. to disclose one more decimal place to see if it overtook Barrick Gold Corp. as the world’s biggest bullion producer.
On Wednesday, the Greenwood Village, Colorado-based company said it produced 5.3 million ounces of gold last year, essentially tying the output of Toronto-based Barrick, which last week reported 5.32 million ounces.
Whether that’s enough for it to squeak ahead of Barrick depends on the rounding. A spokesman for Newmont, Omar Jabara, said the more precise number will be given Thursday when the company posts fourth-quarter earnings and updates its production guidance.
The last year Newmont produced more gold than Barrick was 2005. In 2006, Barrick vaulted ahead after buying Placer Dome Inc. and has maintained an output lead ever since, although Newmont has moved well ahead by market value.
Newmont executives have increasingly been talking up the miner’s growth prospects, a contrast to Barrick, which has spoken more about margin improvements and debt-reduction efforts.
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