08/05/2015 18:50 EDT | Updated 08/05/2016 01:12 EDT

Barrick cuts dividend by 60 per cent, plans another billion dollars in cost cuts

TORONTO — Barrick Gold Corp.  is slashing its dividend by 60 per cent and putting a number of mines up for sale in a widespread effort to further reduce its costs amid concerns about the falling price of gold.

The Toronto-based gold miner (TSX:ABX) said Wednesday it will now target spending cuts across its operations at $2 billion before the end of 2016 — a move that tacks an extra $1 billion of cuts onto a previously announced effort to lower expenses and improve productivity.

Barrick, which also reported a second-quarter loss, said it has already identified $1.4 billion of potential cuts across the business.

"These reductions will come from operating expenses, capital spending and corporate overhead," the company said. 

"This will strengthen the resilience of our portfolio in a lower gold price environment, while positioning us to deliver stronger margins when gold prices recover."

The move comes as Barrick plans to strip its quarterly dividend to two cents per share from the current five cents per share.

The company reported a net loss of $9 million, or one cent per share, compared to a loss of $269 million, or 23 cents, in the same period a year earlier.

Sales dropped to $2.23 billion from $2.46 billion.

Barrick said it's also considering a number of expressions of interest for the purchase of its non-core assets in Nevada and Montana as it anticipates further weakness in the price of gold during the last half of this year.

Gold bullion has lost roughly 40 per cent of its value since 2011, which has left miners scrambling to reduce how much they spend to produce each ounce of the precious metal.

December gold futures closed Wednesday at US$1,085.60 an ounce, down $5.10 from the previous day's close.

Some experts say gold's value may drop further if, as many expect, the U.S. Federal Reserve hikes interest rates this fall. That could prompt investors to ditch safe havens like gold in favour of U.S. dollars.

The Canadian Press