The flurry of M&A transactions last year brought a much-awaited consolidation of the global gold sector. It also brought significant changes to the Canadian mining landscape: Newmont’s (NYSE: NEM) takeover of Goldcorp wiped a major Canadian firm off the board, and Barrick Gold (TSX: ABX; NYSE: GOLD), while still Canadian, has shifted its focus away from the country, with few executives remaining in its Toronto headquarters and only one Canadian mine.
Those headline-making deals have prompted concerns that Canada’s influence in the global gold mining sector is waning. Franco-Nevada (TSX: FNV; NYSE: FNV) chairman Pierre Lassonde said in an interview with BNN Bloomberg in January 2019 that Barrick’s smaller footprint in Canada was the same kind of diminishment of the country’s mining sector that Barrick founder Peter Munk had decried.
“The head office of a company is where the CEO and the CFO sit, and they have to sit in one room and that’s where the direction comes from,” Lassonde said. “It’s not going to be a de facto Canadian company, period.”
Barrick CEO Mark Bristow dismissed the criticism at the time as “hysteria” and pointed out that several departments will still be based in Toronto. But last year’s deal activity also saw international companies taking over or taking stakes in Canadian companies and assets, meaningfully changing the Canadian mining landscape.
Australia’s St Barbara purchased Atlantic Gold, Titan Minerals acquired Core Gold and Zijin Mining bought up Continental Gold a little more than a year after it acquired fellow Canadian miner Nevsun Resources. Australian giant Newcrest Mining also took a stake in Imperial Metals’ (TSX: III) Red Chris copper-gold mine, and the newly consolidated Newmont sold off its Red Lake mining complex in Northern Ontario to Australia’s Evolution Mining.
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