(Bloomberg) -- Newmont Corp., the world’s top gold producer, will forge ahead on a plan to find $2 billion in cash including through mine sales and project divestments after closing the largest takeover in the mining industry this year. 

Denver-based Newmont closed its roughly $15 billion acquisition of Newcrest Mining Ltd. on Monday, ending a nearly year-long effort to buy the Australian gold miner.

Now, with all regulatory hurdles out of the way, Newmont CEO Tom Palmer says the combined company can start a process to sell mines and decide which exploration projects to prioritize over the next two years. 

“It will come from a combination of divestments of assets and resequencing of projects so that we ensure we’ve got the appropriate and steady allocation of cash for reinvestment,” said Palmer in an interview.

The mining mega-deal comes as gold producers face the prospect of stagnating output, harder-to-mine deposits and rising input costs. Newmont’s bullion output has stalled for the past three years, and the company predicted that without a major acquisition its production would remain the same for another decade. Adding to the firm’s woes this year was a four-month strike at its Penasquito mine in Mexico. The strike forced Newmont to cut guidance and post lower-than-expected earnings in the latest quarter.

A Common Maneuver

Miners typically shed assets following mergers and acquisitions to bring in cash and keep their portfolios manageable. After Newmont’s takeover of Goldcorp Inc. in 2019 — a deal that propelled Newmont to the gold sector’s top spot — the company sold one mine as well as two stakes in other projects within the first year. 

With the takeover of Newcrest, Newmont will operate 20 mines in 11 countries. The move boosts the company’s gold output to an estimated 8.5 million ounces a year while significantly increasing its exposure to copper.

“We’ll look at the portfolio we have and take our time to integrate it safely, and welcome new colleagues into our business. And then we’ll think carefully about how we might rationalize our portfolio over the next 12 to 24 months to meet that $2 billion commitment,” said Palmer. 

Palmer said the company has not yet decided which assets to sell, though the strategy has been subject to industry speculation. Two Australian mines acquired from Newcrest — Telfer and Havieron — are among several operations analysts have predicted Newmont will put up for sale.

In a separate Bloomberg Television interview in Sydney on Tuesday, Palmer said Newmont would seek to expand copper production over the long-term, after gaining mines producing the metal along with the Newcrest takeover. 

On the gold market, Palmer said the outlook for prices was positive in 2024 and 2025 with interest rates expected to ease. Bullion had “stubbornly held” around $1,900-$2,000 an ounce with support from “some volatility around the world” and central-bank buying, he said.

--With assistance from Haidi Lun and Jason Scott.

(Updates with Palmer’s comments on copper, gold markets in final two paragraphs)

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