RAPID CITY (AP) — Plans by Homestake Mining Co. to sell some its property in the Black Hills have been put on hold pending a merger with a Canadian company.

Barrick Gold Corp. announced in June that it proposed acquiring Homestake for $2.3 billion.

Homestake officials say they don't know what will happen to the land until after the merger is complete.

”We are hoping to close the deal before year-end,” said Igor Levental, vice president of investor relations for Homestake.

Homestake has about 85,000 acres in the Black Hills, including about 38,000 acres in eastern Wyoming that are seen as prime land for development.

On the South Dakota side, much of the land owned by Homestake is heavily timbered, according to Dennis McKay, a Sturgis real estate salesman.

Homestake started making plans to sell some of its Black Hills holdings after the company announced last fall that it would close its Lead mine at the end of this year.

Homestake intended to use the revenue from the land sales to offset the costs of closing the mine, said Margie Winsel Boorda, manager of Homestake's North American Land Services in Walnut Creek, Calif.

The company had planned to sell most or all of its land in Wyoming, she said. The U.S. Forest Service and the state of Wyoming, as well as private landowners, have expressed interest.

”We were preparing for the completion of more transactions but then the merger was announced,” Winsel Boorda said.

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