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Barrick Gold Corp said on Monday it would form a joint venture with South America-focused Reunion Gold Corp to explore the gold-rich Guiana Shield, which covers parts of Guyana, Venezuela and northern Brazil.

Barrick will fund an initial amount of $4.2 million on the projects with Reunion and subsequent funding will be shared equally between the two companies, the Toronto-based miner said.

The deal will help Barrick identify and buy tier one mines in the region, Chief Executive Officer Mark Bristow said.

Barrick defines tier one mines as low-cost operations that produce at least 500,000 ounces of gold per year.

Barrick will also raise its stake in Reunion to 20 per cent from 15 per cent now.

U.S-listed shares of Barrick Gold were down 1.7 per cent to $13.02 before the bell. Shares of gold miners were down on Monday due to stronger dollar as well as upbeat economic data.