Barrick Gold ready to offload Montana-based Golden Sunlight Mine

Barrick Gold ready to offload Montana-based Sunlight Mine

The aging mine is one of Barrick's smallest properties, producing 92,000 ounces of gold in 2013. (Image from archives)

Barrick Gold (TSX, NYSE:ABX), the world's largest producer of the precious metal, is reportedly ready to offload its aging Golden Sunlight mine in southwestern Montana, US, as part of a now two-year-long move to shed non-core assets and pay back debts.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the gold giant has hired Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) to help sell the mine, which it acquired after taking over Placer Dome in 2006.

The open-pit mine, located in Jefferson County, is one of Barrick's smallest properties, producing 92,000 ounces of gold in 2013, according to the company's website.

In January, the Toronto-based company sold its interest in the Kanowna operation in western Australia to Northern Start Resources for $75 million cash. The transaction followed the sale of its Plutonic mine also to Northern Star for $25 million in December.

Barrick’s earning per share plummeted in the most recent quarter, in comparison to its performance from the same quarter a year ago. The company has reported a trend of declining earnings per share over the past two years.

Being the most debt-heavy company in the gold sector has meant for Barrick to be among those that have lost the most due to volatile bullion prices.

“The company has never been known for managing its cash or resources well or, for that matter, being investor friendly,” writes Steve McDonald, bond strategist for The Oxford Club.

“It has a history of being too aggressive in its growth efforts and having too many underperforming assets that are too spread out,” he adds.

Barrick's shares were down -0.55% to $18.24 Thursday in pre-market trade.