Newmont still keen on Barrick merger

The world's top two gold miners in terms of production had been in off-and-on talks to merge for years, but the latest round of negotiations ended in acrimony in April.

Reuters reports Thursday Newmont Mining (NYSE:NEM) is expressing interest for restarting merger talks with Barrick Gold (NYSE:ABX), after CEO Gary Goldberg announced that he was open to resuming discussions despite no contact between the parties since April.

Toronto-based Barrick (TSE:ABX NYSE:ABX) which produces some 7 million ounces of gold and substantial amounts of copper has been shedding assets to tackle crippling debt is worth $23 billion on the TSX, up 7% this year, but nowhere near its $54 billion market value in 2011.

Newmont Mining Corp (NYSE:NEM) with a market value of just under $13 billion has fared better adding 13% in value in 2014. The Denver-based company is a 5 million ounce a year producer, but has also put mines on the block to appease shareholders. Newmont has also been looking to add to its copper portfolio.

It was revealed in June Barrick had been in talks about about possible partnerships with China's largest gold producer, China National Gold.  The state-owned giant with nearly 50 operating gold mines in the country said it's actively looking at acquisition in gold, silver and copper companies around the world as it embarks on an expansion drive.

Gold is up some 9% in 2014 after climbing above $1,300 an ounce this week, but more than $600 an ounce below all-time highs reached September 2011. Copper is up significantly since hitting a near four-year low in March, trading at $3.18 a pound in New York on Thursday.