Investors cheer Barrick's plans to sell African Barrick to China

Barrick Gold Corporation (TSX:ABX) was trading up 3.8% in heavy volumes in Toronto and African Barrick Gold (LON:ABG) closed 8% higher after Barrick confirmed that it is in preliminary discussions with China National Gold Group Corporation (China Gold) regarding its 74% holding in ABG.

UK-listed African Barrick is worth $2.7 billion and has performed much better this year relative to its parent. The Tanzania-focused gold miner is down 7.3% year to date while Barrick – which has a market value of $35.6 billion has shed 23% in 2012.

Barrick's divestment plans come in the wake of a change in the Canadian company's top leadership its "renewed focus on maximizing shareholder value through a disciplined capital allocation program," or put another way – cutting costs and reigning in spending on new projects.

Barrick's CEO Aaron Regent got the boot in June and was replaced by the company's CFO Jamie Sokalsky.

Regent's undoing may have been Barrick Gold's Pascua-Lama project on the Argentina-Chile border. In July Barrick announced a 50-60% cost blow-out for the project which could end up with a final bill of as much as $8 billion with $3 billion already spent.