Barrick buckling down for ‘grunt’ work ahead, CEO Bristow says – by Gabriel Friedman (Financial Post – February 13, 2020)

TORONTO — Since Mark Bristow took the helm of Barrick Gold Corp. in a transformational merger one year ago, the company has enjoyed a 42 per cent surge in its share price amid rising bullion prices and a streamlined portfolio and corporate structure that has won over many investors.

Still, in an interview at his office in a downtown Toronto high rise on Wednesday, Bristow suggested the coming year would reveal new, more difficult challenges.

“I don’t want to sound flippant,” he told the Financial Post, “but these last 12 months we set out to do something and we did it, but there was a lot of low-hanging fruit. Now it’s the grunt to get it to the next level.”

Exactly what lies ahead for the miner is a topic of great speculation, not least because Bristow has publicly mused about adding more copper assets to the company’s portfolio, singling out Freeport-McMoran’s Grasberg mine in Indonesia as an asset he’d like to acquire. But he brushed aside the comments, saying such a deal would take months if not years of legwork and that it was just an idea at this stage.

“We’re running out of pure gold discoveries,” he said, explaining that copper-gold deposits of sufficient size are being discovered more often nowadays.

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