Could A Mine With A Great Name Turn To Gold For Newcrest?

While the behemoths of the global gold sector are engaged in an acrimonious three-cornered contest of egos and ambitions, Newcrest Mining is sticking to a disciplined, if less exciting, game plan.

Newcrest’s Sandeep Biswas referred, obliquely, to the manoeuvring by Newmont, Barrick and Goldcorp at the big end of the sector on Monday, with references to financial engineering and "nebulous synergy savings" in stating his preference for asset deals rather than the corporate mergers and acquisitions his peers are pursuing.

That preference has resulted in the $1.15 billion acquisition of a 70 per cent interest, and operator status, in Canada’s Red Chris gold and copper mine from its deeply stressed owner, the Toronto-listed Imperial Metals Corp.

Imperial’s status as a distressed seller – it has debt of $US873 million ($1.2 billion), much of it maturing this month, and has been incurring heavy losses – created an opportunity for Newcrest, which has been eyeing off Red Chris for "several years".