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Newcrest Mining’s Cadia mine.

Canadian gold miner Barrick Gold has refuted claims that it will challenge Newmont’s $24 billion takeover offer for Newcrest.

After Newmont launched its surprise bid to buy all Newcrest’s shares at a 22 per cent premium over the weekend, valuing the Australian gold miner at $24.45 billion, it was widely considered that Barrick would launch a counter bid.

But this has since been refuted by Barrick chief executive Mark Bristow.

Speaking at a mining conference in Cape Town, Bristow said such a deal “doesn’t make sense right now”.

“There is a difference between value merger acquisitions and getting bigger for the sake of getting bigger,” he told Bloomberg.

With no counter-bid in sight, Newcrest chairman Peter Tomsett has been urged to explain what a standalone future would look like if investors reject Newmont’s takeover bid.

Many Newcrest Australian investors believe the scrip offer of 0.38 Newmont shares for every Newcrest share undervalues their company.

“It feels like the bid is opportunistic and if Newmont wants Newcrest they need to pay up for it,” Pendal portfolio manager Brenton Saunders said on Tuesday.

“Of all the senior gold companies, Newcrest’s growth project pipeline is as good as any. I think this bid says more about Newmont’s portfolio than anything else.”

The Newcrest board said on Monday it would consider Newmont’s offer, which would need to progress through a phase of due diligence before being formalised.

A combination of the two companies would give the US-based Newmont a big presence in Australia, bringing the Boddington, Cadia, Tanami and Telfer mines under one roof.

The other gold miner with the scale to compete for Newcrest is Agnico Eagle, which owns the Fosterville mine in Victoria’s goldfields.

Agnico has so far kept its cards close to its chest, but the miner is currently acquiring part of Canada’s Yamana Gold, making the timing difficult for Agnico to launch another takeover bid.