World’s two largest gold producers disagree on mine value

In an interview with Bloomberg, Newmont Mining’s CEO Gary Goldberg reiterated what he has been saying for the past six months: that he’d be interested in buying Barrick Gold’s half of the Kalgoorlie Super Pit at the right price.

Kalgoorlie is Australia’s largest open-pit gold mine. It has produced 50 million ounces over 30 years and is jointly owned by Barrick and Newmont (NYSE:NEM), the latter being its operator at least until 2020.

Barrick (TSX, NYSE:ABX) started a sales process of its 50% stake in July. The Toronto-based company has declined to say how much it is worth, but experts say it could fetch as much as $1 billion.

“We’re not misaligned in terms of where we see some of the value of the resource that’s there,” Goldberg told Bloomberg. But “people have different assumptions on exchange rates, and gold price, those sorts of things,” he added.

Barrick hasn’t confirmed either how it plans to structure the sale, but Newmont’s CEO said the giant could decide to sell shares in the holding company that owns the mine, a decision that could avoid triggering Newmont’s Right of First Refusal.

Goldberg also said that the Colorado-based producer he heads would be very likely to continue retaining ownership of its half of the mine, given the situation that a new partner came on board.

Newmont expects its share of Kalgoorlie’s gold production this year to be 350,000 to 400,000 ounces. If the American company adds Barrick’s portion, the gap that has allowed Barrick to claim the title of the world’s largest producer would sharply narrow.