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File photo of a Barrick Gold mining operationRicardo Roja

Barrick Gold Corp. has tapped Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce to sell its smaller American gold mines and project, according to people familiar with the matter.

Barrick, the world's biggest gold producer, has been on a tear selling mines to reduce its $13-billion (U.S.) debt.

The Canadian company recently announced plans to sell a batch of insignificant mines mostly based in Nevada, including Bald Mountain, Ruby Hill and Golden Sunlight, as well as its stakes in the Round Mountain mine and the Spring Valley gold project.

Barrick used CIBC to sell Golden Sunlight last year, sources have said. But the Montana-based mine is near the end of its life and CIBC failed to find a buyer, according to the sources.

The company has suggested it could sell the group of U.S. mines as a package. It is unclear which company or financial entity would be interested in the entire suite. With the exception of Ruby Hill, Barrick spends more than $1,000 to produce an ounce – a level that is now considered high with the price of bullion hovering around $1,100 per ounce.

Barrick jointly owns Round Mountain with Canadian rival Kinross Gold Corp., which has suggested it would be interested in taking full ownership.

Barrick is one of the few miners that has successfully closed deals this year, giving mining investment bankers work. It has relied on Royal Bank of Canada in the past. But under Barrick chairman John Thornton and his top deals executive, Kevin Thomson, the company has spread the love around to various banks.

Rothschild Inc. was used for Barrick's Pueblo Viejo financing deal. Michael Klein – a former Citigroup Inc. executive – and Toronto-Dominion Bank were hired for the partial sale of the company's Chilean copper mine. Credit Suisse was Barrick's banker on its Papua New Guinea and Australian gold deals.

CIBC declined comment. Barrick did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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