Zijin Mining, Gold Fields among final bidders for Barrick's Australian gold mine

Zijin Mining, Gold Fields among final bidders for Barrick's Australian gold mine

Cowal gold mine in Australia's New South Wales. (Image courtesy of Barrick Gold)

China’s Zijin Mining Group Co. and South Africa’s Gold Fields (NYSE:GFI) are among the runners-up to get Barrick Gold’s (TSX, NYSE:ABX) Cowal gold mine in Australia's New South Wales.

The miners, which have just submitted their final offers, are said to be competing with Australian firms Evolution Mining Ltd. and Independence Group NL, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.

Analysts believe the mine, which produced 268,000 ounces of gold last year, may be worth at least $400 million, and that Barrick would likely get as much as $1.1 billion from the sale of both the Cowal and its Papua New Guinea’s Porgera mines. The divestment is part of the world's biggest gold producer’s a strategy to reduce its net debt by at least $3bn.

Zijin Mining has also expressed interest in Barrick’s Porgera mine, Bloomberg’s sources said.

Barrick, which has already sold three mines in Australia, had about $13 billion in debt at the end of 2014.