Mining companies could benefit from more investor activism in the wake of Elliott Management Corp.’s campaign for improved performance at BHP Billiton Ltd., according to Australia’s second-largest gold producer.
The sector’s record of returns warrants closer scrutiny from shareholders, Evolution Mining Ltd. Executive Chairman Jake Klein said in an interview in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia. “I’d like to see it,” he said. “Investors are almost too tolerant, and too accepting.”
Activism campaigns are accelerating in traditional mining hubs including Australia and Canada, according to FTI Consulting Inc. All 19 members of a Bloomberg Intelligence index of mid-sized gold producers, which includes Evolution, have had a negative return in the past 12 months, with only seven advancing this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
“It’s a double-edged sword,” Klein said in the interview Monday on the sidelines of the Diggers and Dealers mining forum. “I said to a fund manager the other day, well why aren’t you guys more active — and then I realized, well I’m probably going to have to beg their forgiveness in a little while.”
Billionaire Paul Singer’s Elliott has targeted BHP, the world’s top miner, for a corporate overhaul and lambasted management strategy that the fund claims has destroyed about $40 billion in value.
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