Newmont Mining Corp., the largest U.S. gold producer, said it will consider acquisitions as well as the expansion of existing operations.
Like some of its biggest competitors, Newmont is focusing on its most efficient mines following a decline in the gold price. The company has sold about $1.4 billion of assets in the past two years and is building a mine in Suriname. Still, it won’t rule out buying low-cost and long-life mines in safe jurisdictions, Chief Executive Officer Gary Goldberg said.
“We’re always looking to improve our portfolio,” he said Monday in an interview in Hollywood, Florida, where he was attending the BMO Global Metals & Mining conference. “We’ve got a great organic pipeline but also it doesn’t hurt to just look around.”
While Goldberg declined to comment on specific assets Newmont would consider buying, he said the 50 percent of the Kalgoorlie Super Pit mine that Newmont doesn’t own would “fit in” with some of his acquisition criteria.
Barrick Gold Corp., the world’s largest gold miner, is the other Super Pit owner. That stake would be Barrick’s last remaining Australian asset if it offloads the Cowal mine, the sale of which was announced last week.
Merger talks between Barrick and Newmont broke down last April. Asked about the prospects for a resumption of the negotiations, the Newmont CEO said his company is focused on its own operations. As well as the Suriname mine, Newmont company is due to decide this year whether to proceed with the development of projects in Nevada, Ghana and Australia.
Goldberg also said Newmont isn’t actively looking to sell any more mines, although it would consider offers.
Despite the spending cuts of recent years, he said the real test will come when metal prices start to rise again.
“When prices go up, people have short memories, both miners and investors,” he said. “We’ve got to deliver what we said we were going to do, don’t start overpaying for acquisitions, keep shareholder value at the forefront.”
Newmont is bullish in the medium to long term on gold, although prices will probably stay volatile in the short term, Goldberg said. The company has budgeted for a flat, $1,200-an- ounce gold price for the next three years. In London spot trading on Monday, gold was at $1,191 to $1,210 an ounce.
“That’s the place I feel I’m a lot better positioned,” Goldberg said. “We don’t have to sit and hope for the gold price to recover as the strategy.”