China's Shandong Gold in $960 million deal for half of Barrick's Veladero mine

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China's Shandong Gold Mining Co Ltd 600547.SS will pay $960 million for a 50 percent stake in Barrick Gold Corp's ABX.TOABX.N Veladero gold mine in Argentina, the Canadian miner said in a press release on Thursday.

The deal, which confirms an earlier Reuters report about the talks, will also see the two firms look at jointly developing the nearby undeveloped Pascua-Lama gold and silver project which straddles the border of Argentina and Chile.

Barrick added the two miners would also look at other additional investment opportunities on the El Indio Gold Belt.

“Shandong is an ideal partner to help us unlock the untapped mineral wealth of the El Indio Belt over the long-term, while working with us to generate more value from the Veladero mine today,” Barrick Executive Chairman John Thornton said.

Shandong Gold’s Chairman said in the release the miner was looking to “build a long-term relationship” with Barrick.

“We are excited to enter Argentina’s dynamic mining industry in partnership with Barrick at Veladero, while exploring other opportunities in one of the most prospective mineral districts in the world,” he said.

Reuters could not reach Shandong Gold for further comment.

Shandong had taken the lead in talks with Barrick to take a stake in the mine after discussions with rival Chinese firm Zijin Mining Group Co Ltd 601899.SS fell through.

Reporting by Adam Jourdan; Additional reporting by SHANGHAI newsroom; Editing by Christian Schmollinger