TORONTO — Barrick Gold Corp. shares were lower in pre-market trading, following its advance notice of a US$3-billion asset writedown.Barrick (TSX:ABX) says it will be writing down the value of its stalled Pascua-Lama mining project on the border of Chile and Argentina and its Pueblo Viejo gold operation in Dominican Republic by a total of between US$1 billion and and US$1.2 billion.It will also reduce the value of goodwill — an intangible asset related to some of its past acquisitions — by about US$1.8 billion.The Toronto-based company — one of the world’s largest gold producers — says it will provide an update on the writedowns on Feb. 17 when it reports detailed financial and operating results for the year ended Dec. 31.‘You can’t get weak in the knees’: Canadian miners continue to expand abroad despite brutal bear marketMetal price meltdown opens door for private equity to walk inAnglo American’s massive restructuring involving 85,000 layoffs shows miners bracing for prolonged downturnThe write downs are non-cash items that reflect the reduced long-term value of the assets.Its shares closed in Toronto on Thursday at $11.90 and in New York at US$8.32 before the announcement. The U.S.-listed shares were down three per cent from that level in extended trading before markets reopened Friday morning.Barrick also announced Thursday that it produced about 6.12 million ounces of gold and 511 million pounds of copper last year, both within Barrick’s expectations.It got about US$1.105 per ounce on average for the gold sold in the fourth quarter and US$1,157 per ounce for the year. For the coming year, however, Barrick assumes its realized price for gold will drop to US$1,000 per ounce in 2016.
Sempertrans, the conveyor belt business segment of the publicly listed Semperit Group, has stepped up its activities in North America. Together with its strategic partner Shaw Almex Industries Ltd, a leading provider of industrial and vulcanisation presses, Sempertrans formalised the agreement to be operated under the new entity Sempertrans USA LLC. The Semperit owned entity is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, USA with sales representatives and application engineering being located throughout North America.“In recent years, we have successfully established our sales and marketing activities in the USA, Canada, and Mexico. Through the partnership with Shaw Almex we will utilise our long-term growth potential in the second largest conveyor belt market worldwide and prepare for the next market upturn,” commented Boris Illetschko, Sempertrans General Manager. The estimated conveyor belt demand including replacement investments in North America is roughly $640 million. “Even in the currently very challenging market environment we will further expand our market shares with our technically advanced and high-quality products, a competitive price-performance ratio and the market coverage and know-how of Shaw Almex,” expresses Illetschko.“It is very exciting to see this project move to the next phase,” states Tim Shaw, CEO of the North American operations. “With an inventory of several million dollars located at the Atlanta distribution facility and with the ability to slit to custom widths and ship within 24 hours, this will significantly increase our market penetration.” To serve the Mexican market, Sempertrans will also have inventory and slitting capabilities in Leon, Mexico strategically located near the major mining operations. “We are also very pleased that we have received MSHA Certification opening the underground mining market to our high quality product as well,” adds Shaw.On top of Sempertrans’ conveyor belt design and manufacturing expertise, Shaw Almex provides technical and infrastructure expertise, as well as access to the North American market. Additionally, the sales efforts will be supported by cooperation with selected distributors offering Sempertrans high performance heavy duty textile and steel reinforced conveyor belts. The main applications for the products are mining, steel, cement, power plants and the transport industry.