Home » Barrick Gold CEO Shuns Talks for First Quantum Assets

Barrick Gold CEO Shuns Talks for First Quantum Assets

I Prefer Direct Strategies Over Fragmented Asset Negotiations, Says Bristow

by Ikeoluwa Ogungbangbe
Barrick Gold CEO

Barrick Gold Corp CEO Mark Bristow took a firm stance on Wednesday, stating his lack of interest in engaging in “piecemeal” discussions regarding potential bids for assets belonging to First Quantum Minerals Ltd. In an exclusive interview with Reuters following the company’s quarterly earnings report, Bristow emphasized his disinterest in fragmented negotiations. Responding to queries about the possibility of Barrick Gold bidding for assets from First Quantum Minerals, Bristow firmly stated, “I’m not interested in working on any sort of piecemeal discussion.”

Addressing speculation surrounding discussions with First Quantum shareholders, Bristow clarified that the company had not undertaken any roadshows to gauge shareholder support for a potential takeover, refuting recent media reports on the matter. First Quantum Minerals, grappling with the repercussions of a court order to shut down its principal copper mine in Panama, which contributed significantly to its revenue, announced last month its exploration of strategies to “manage its balance sheet.” These options include the sale of smaller mines and seeking strategic investors for larger ones.

The fallout from the closure order has been substantial for First Quantum, resulting in a significant loss in market value. Bristow acknowledged the complex nature of the situation, stating that it would take time for the market to grasp its intricacies fully. He remarked, “Once you can understand it, then maybe there’s something that can be done.”

Meanwhile, as Panama prepares for presidential elections in May, the fate of First Quantum’s mine has emerged as a contentious issue. However, Bristow refrained from commenting on the matter when approached on Wednesday. In contrast to First Quantum’s challenges, Barrick Gold is focused on developing its own copper assets, including the Reko Diq project in Pakistan. Bristow reassured that the company does not require additional funding for the development of its copper assets.

Regarding the potential impact of Pakistan’s recent elections on the Reko Diq project, Bristow maintained a neutral stance, asserting that Barrick Gold remains apolitical. Despite the recent political turmoil in Pakistan, with Shehbaz Sharif being chosen to lead the country again, Bristow highlighted the continuity in civil service leadership involved in discussions related to the Reko Diq project.

Moreover, Bristow disclosed that Saudi Arabia is being considered as a potential equity partner for the Reko Diq project. He revealed ongoing discussions between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan regarding Saudi Arabia’s potential acquisition of a partial stake in the mine, emphasizing that no final decisions have been reached yet.

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