OPINION: As Barrick gains a new partner, what’s been lost? – by Jennifer Wells (Toronto Star – November 5, 2018)


“There are analysts who a year ago wouldn’t touch Barrick. There are analysts who don’t like the colour of my hair.” I didn’t write about Peter Munk when he died this past March at the age of 90.

But Monday being voting day, in which the merger between Barrick Gold Corp. and Randgold Resources Ltd. will be consummated, seems an appropriate time for an elegy.

I can’t state with certainty the first time I interviewed Munk, but it must have been around 1987 or so. Perhaps earlier. In my memory it was thought by some editor somewhere that handing a youngish woman the mining beat might be a bit of fun, though I didn’t have to write the regular Drill Hole Diary feature, thank goodness.

Clues may lie in dusty newspaper clippings boxed somewhere in a cobwebbed corner of the basement, should they exist at all. In the mid-’80s Munk had emerged quite suddenly as a man with a mining mission, initially focused on oil and gas, a strategy he would later describe as “uniquely unsuccessful.” The pivot to gold drew earned derision, given his background creating, with David Gilmour, Clairtone Sound Corp. and its Project G sound system, which was gorgeous, state of the art and ultimately went bankrupt.

Subsequent adventures in the South Pacific brought, initially, the Khashoggi brothers as investors (Adnan and Essam) and, ultimately, financial success as the endeavour grew to a 50-hotel chain.

For the rest of this opinion column: https://www.thestar.com/business/opinion/2018/11/05/as-barrick-gains-a-new-partner-whats-been-lost.html

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