UPDATE 1-Newmont CEO says open to Barrick Gold merger talks

Thu Aug 7, 2014 6:02pm EDT

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(Adds details on Barrick's position, analyst comment, paragraphs 3-8)

MELBOURNE Aug 7 (Reuters) - Newmont Mining Corp Chief Executive Gary Goldberg said on Thursday he was open to resuming discussions about a potential merger with Barrick Gold Corp but had not heard from the company since April.

Merger talks between the No. 1 and No. 3 global gold miners descended into acrimony in April, with Barrick and Newmont publicly accusing each other of scuppering a deal favoured by many investors.

In July, Barrick Chairman John Thornton said the miner remained open to a tie-up with Newmont but made it clear that a deal was not his current focus. On Thursday a source familiar with the company said Barrick's view had not changed since then.

This year's talks were the third time in a seven-year period that Barrick and Newmont seriously contemplated a merger. The companies have large and overlapping operations in Nevada.

Cowen and Co analyst Adam Graf said there could be some cost savings if Barrick and Newmont combine, but a big, flashy deal could leave investors worse off.

"I believe there are some synergies to be harvested in Nevada, but I think a mega-merger is not the best way to go about it," he said. Graf said the companies could form a joint venture, or Barrick could sell its Goldstrike complex to Newmont.

Separately, Newmont is embroiled in a major dispute with the government of Indonesia, and said on Thursday it is applying for an injunction to get workers back to its Batu Hijau mine as it fights a controversial tax on copper exports that led the company to halt shipments from the country earlier this year.

Barrick closed up 0.7 percent at C$20.18 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Thursday. Newmont rose 0.4 percent to $26.18 on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Sonali Paul in Melbourne; Additional reporting by Allison Martell in Toronto; Editing by Michael Urquhart and David Gregorio)

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