Barrick selling research and development firm AuTec

Canada’s Barrick Gold (ASX, NYSE:ABX), the world’s No.1 gold miner, is selling research and development company AuTec and laying off executives hired to lead what the Toronto-based company had called its "digital reinvention."

Barrick is in the midst of merging with Africa’s Randgold Resources (LON:RSS) and incoming CEO Mark Bristow has announced his intention to offload non-core assets, reduce costs and cut head office management in an attempt to delegate more authority to regional mining operations.

AuTec is a full-service metallurgical testing lab and piloting facility, serving the mining industry.

One of the first assets to go, according to the WSJ, is AuTec Innovative Extractive Solutions Ltd, a full-service metallurgical testing lab and piloting facility, serving the mining industry.

In recent months, Barrick has dissolved or reduced technology-based teams at its head office in Toronto and at its mining operations in Nevada, the report said.

In September, it decided to eliminate the executive role of Chief Innovation Officer, held by Michelle Ash, who will be in the position until the end of the year.

At the time, the company said it would not make changes to the position of Chief Digital Officer, created last August and held by former GE executive Sham Chotai.  The executive was supposed to lead Barrick’s digital transformation, but he’s said to have already left the company.

Other non-core assets that are rumoured to go on the chopping block soon are the Lumwana copper mine in Zambia, which could fetch as much as $1.3 billion as well as Barrick’s 50% stake in Chile's Zaldivar mine.

The merged mining company may also sell Randgold’s Tongon, Massawa and Morila assets, BMO Capital Markets analyst Andrew Kaip wrote in a report to investors in October.