Newmont said in November it suspended development of its $4.8 billion Minas Conga project in Peru after weeks of clashes between police and demonstrators who oppose the mine. The company’s global gold output may stagnate until 2017, according to Veritas Investment Research Corp.
“Newmont has no growth, whereas Kinross has plenty of growth projects,” Topping said in a telephone interview.
Kinross may also entice Polyus, Russia’s largest gold miner, according to John Goldsmith, a money manager at Montrusco Bolton Investments Inc., which oversees about C$4.5 billion.
Mikhail Prokhorov, one of Polyus’ billionaire owners, said just over a year ago that the company plans to merge with a global competitor to become one of the world’s three biggest gold producers. Combining Polyus and Kinross, which owns two properties in Russia, would create a company rivaling AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. as the third-largest gold miner by output globally.
Robert Buchan, Kinross’s former chief executive officer, was also appointed chairman of Polyus in July.
“This could be really attractive for them,” Goldsmith said in a telephone interview. “Maybe Polyus and another company comes in and does a combined bid.”
Barrick, which analysts say will more than double its free cash flow to $3.4 billion this year, can afford to shoulder the costs to develop Kinross’s projects, according to Pawel Rajszel, a Toronto-based analyst at Veritas Investment. This week, Kinross estimated that those costs may reach $7 billion.
With Kinross’s mines, Barrick could exceed its five-year gold production targets, he said. The company owns 74 percent of African Barrick Gold Plc (ABG) and added a copper mine in Zambia when it bought Equinox Minerals Ltd. last year.
‘Use it Most’
“It would add significant growth to Barrick’s profile, especially at a time when Barrick could use it most,” Rajszel said in a telephone interview. “They can afford costs to go up, they can afford to add this asset into their portfolio, and they can definitely afford it with their free cash