Barrick Gold says focus on growth after deep debt cuts – by Nicole Mordant (Reuters U.S. – April 23, 2018)

(Reuters) – Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO) said on Monday it was done selling assets to cut debt and would instead use funds from future sales for growth or to pay dividends, as it looks set to lose its rank as the world’s biggest gold producer due to declining production.

Toronto-based Barrick, which reported better-than-expected adjusted earnings, said its focus would increasingly be on growth from its own projects and operations in Nevada and the Dominican Republic.

The miner also said it had suspended work on a prefeasibility study on its massive Pascua-Lama gold and silver project in the Andes Mountains, which does not meet its investment criteria.

“Barrick will continue to evaluate opportunities to de-risk the project while maintaining Pascua-Lama as an option for development in the future if economics improve, and related risks can be mitigated,” Barrick said in a statement.

The miner, under the leadership of Executive Chairman John Thornton, has focused for the past three years on reducing debt by more than 50 percent from the more than $13 billion it hit at the end of 2014 due to overpriced acquisitions and mine development, including Pascua-Lama.

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