By Euan Rocha and Allison Martell
TORONTO (Reuters) - Barrick Gold
The sources, who asked not to be named because the talks are confidential, said the discussions have so far been exploratory in nature and no deals are imminent at this time.
A spokesman for Barrick declined to comment on the matter.
One source said Barrick's management has met with top fund managers in Asia and the Middle East to gauge the interest in a possible private placement-style equity deal, in order to raise capital and bring on board a large, long-term strategic investor as a move to boost market confidence in the company.
Such a move would be similar to the one taken by diversified miner Teck Resources Ltd
Barrick, the world's top bullion miner, has faced a similar struggle over the last year, as the price of gold has fallen 21 percent and costs at Pascua Lama - its massive gold project on the border of Chile and Argentina, have soared.
Shares in Barrick have fallen 46 percent over the last 12 months. The company's shares hit C$14.22 in July, their lowest point since 1992, but have since rebounded a bit and the stock closed on Wednesday at C$21.55.
The Toronto-based gold miner will be announcing its third-quarter results on Thursday, and is expected to provide analysts and investors an update on capital costs at Pascua Lama, which were last pegged at up to $8.5 billion.
Another source briefed on the matter, said Barrick is also considering a further streaming deal to pay for any additional capital outlay at Pascua Lama. Such deals, give miners cash up front in exchange for an agreement to sell future production of a by-product like silver at a discounted price.
Barrick already has a streaming deal in place at Pascua Lama - In 2009, Silver Wheaton Corp
Bloomberg, earlier on Wednesday, reported that the company is also considering selling part of its copper business, or even a stake in Pascua Lama, citing people with knowledge of the matter. The report said Barrick has not settled on a strategy, and that there is no certainty a deal will occur.
In an interview with Reuters last month, Barrick's Chief Executive Jamie Sokalsky categorically denied that the company has any plans to sell its copper assets.
"They are still core assets for us," said Sokalsky during an interview in Denver. "It is not about just gold or copper, it's about an asset that generates returns and free cash flow."
Barrick owns copper mines and projects in South America, Africa and the Middle East.
The company, in August, agreed to sell three of its higher-cost gold mines in Australia to Gold Fields
Sokalsky told Reuters last month that the company remains in talks about some further asset sales with the focus on divesting smaller, higher-cost mines.
(Reporting by Euan Rocha and Allison Martell; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)