Barrick issues cease and desist notice to AJN over Kibali stake purchase – by Hereward Holland, Jeff Lewis and Helen Reid (Reuters Canada – February 26, 2020)

KINSHASA/TORONTO/JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Barrick Gold, the operator of Congo’s biggest gold mine, has issued a cease and desist notice to junior miner AJN Resources as it moves to block its acquisition of a 10% stake in the project, which it says the deal undervalues.

Barrick and AngloGold Ashanti, which each own 45% of the Kibali mine, said they had not been consulted about the acquisition even though the stake’s owner Societe Miniere de Kilo-Moto (SOKIMO) may not transfer or sell its Kibali shares without their approval.

The two companies and the chair of state-owned SOKIMO say AJN’s planned acquisition was prematurely announced to the market, without notifying stakeholders or securing approval from SOKIMO’s board.

Barrick has issued a cease and desist notice to AJN, and its executives in Congo are currently engaged with the government on the matter, Chief Executive Mark Bristow said.

The miner won’t support the sale for reasons of valuation as well as process, he said. “From what little we know, it’s a deeply discounted transaction,” he told Reuters. “It’s cheeky at best.”

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