Barrick Gold Corp.’s new chief executive is surprised by the “hysteria” over whether the world’s largest gold miner will remain a Canadian company.
Barely a week after his Channel Islands-based Randgold Resources Ltd. merged with Barrick, Mark Bristow says he’s determined to keep the global miner headquartered in Toronto — or at least as committed as he is to any head office.
“Mining industries have to catch up with the reality of the times,” Bristow said in a phone interview from Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where he maintains a home. “We can’t sit in this massive corporate office — this old tradition — trying to run an organization that’s global by remote control.”
Bristow’s comments come in the wake of critical commentary by industry veteran Pierre Lassonde, who said Barrick’s reduced presence in Canada amounts to the kind of hollowing out of the country’s mining sector that Barrick’s late founder, Peter Munk, vigorously opposed. Lassonde was particularly critical of the fact that Barrick’s top company leaders — Bristow, Chief Financial Officer Graham Shuttleworth and Executive Chairman John Thornton — aren’t based in Canada.
“The head office of a company is where the CEO and the CFO sit, and they have to sit in one room,” Lassonde, chairman of Toronto-based Franco-Nevada Corp., said Tuesday on BNN Bloomberg. “This is not going to be a de facto Canadian company, period.”
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