The slow shift of power away from Barrick Gold Corp.’s Canadian head office has moved into high gear, just days after it closed its deal with African operator Randgold Resources Ltd.
The US$6-billion acquisition, which was announced in September and completed Tuesday, has left Barrick with a hollowed-out head office, almost no Canadian representation on the board and few Canadians in top management positions.
Barrick’s retreat in Canada reflects a broader downsizing of Toronto as a world mining capital, with fewer global players headquartered in the city and dramatically less mining capital being raised on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Barrick, the world’s largest gold producer, had been one of the last great Canadian corporate mining champions left standing after a wave of foreign takeovers of metals giants such as Inco and Falconbridge.
With a head office of about 500 employees, it played a major role in Toronto’s financial scene. But that Toronto office has been shrinking for years as Barrick went through a series of restructuring moves led by John Thornton, its U.S.-based executive chairman.
Pierre Lassonde, whose Franco Nevada Corp. has owned a royalty on Barrick’s Goldstrike mine in Nevada since 1985, believes that Peter Munk, Barrick’s late founder, would be aghast at seeing the company’s fast-shrinking presence in Canada.
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