Barrick Gold Corp.’s chief said there’s a logic to combining with Freeport-McMoran Inc. as a way to expand into copper, but isn’t committing to any deals yet.
A tie-up with Freeport could bolster Barrick’s U.S. presence, where it already operates gold mines in Nevada, said Chief Executive Officer Mark Bristow, who cautioned that it’s not something currently being considered.
“Everyone has been fingered as a potential suitor of Freeport,” said Bristow, when asked if he was interested in a combination. “There’s a bit of work for us to do before we can get our head around broadening our scope.”
Freeport has long been seen as a takeover target for mining majors such as Rio Tinto Group and BHP Group. The biggest miners are all bullish on copper because it’s crucial for the electrification of transport and cities, but supplies look constrained in the long term.
Freeport CEO Richard Adkerson said last year that any strategic move is possible, including acquisitions, partnerships, or even a full sale. The company operates several open-pit copper mines in North America, as well as the giant Grasberg project in Indonesia.
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