Barrick’s deal with Shandong shows how Chinese companies have in recent years stepped up their involvement with Canadian mining companies
Barrick Gold Corp. may be the largest gold miner in the world, but that hasn’t stopped it from asking a state-owned Chinese conglomerate to help in its decades-long quest to dig up a vast gold deposit near the border between Argentina and Chile.
On Monday, the Toronto-based company announced China’s Shandong Gold Group Co. Ltd. will study whether it makes sense to build an open pit, heap leach mine squarely inside Argentina — after Chilean authorities last year ordered the closure of mining activities on its side of the border.
The announcement, which came while Barrick’s senior management team visited China, shows the company’s growing reliance on Shandong as a partner. In April 2017, Shandong paid $960 million and formed a 50/50 joint venture in Barrick’s Veladero gold mine in Argentina, and the two agreed to explore future opportunities together.
It also signals yet another inroad for Chinese companies, which in recent years have been heavily investing and partnering with Canadian mining companies involved in copper, uranium and other metals.
“Over the past year, we have been laying the foundation for a distinctive, enduring, and trust-based relationship with Shandong Gold,” John Thornton, Barrick’s executive chairman, said in the press release.