Coronavirus to fuel gold-miner deals: Barrick Gold CEO – by Jonathan Garber (Fox Business – April 7, 2020)

The COVID-19 pandemic could lead to a flurry of deals in the gold mining industry, according to Barrick Gold CEO Mark Bristow.

The pandemic has caused some miners to put operations on care and maintenance, shrinking gold supplies. At the same time, major central banks and governments have been injecting cash into their economies, devaluing their currencies and spiking interest in gold, a traditional safe haven.

“There’s a real opportunity that there might be some acquisition options coming out of this,” Bristow told FOX Business. “We’re certainly keeping very busy looking at those options.”

All of this comes as gold is seeing a declining reserve base due to miners not investing in their future and production forecasts pointing to a 20 percent to 30 percent decline in new gold supply over the next 10 years.

The gold mining industry has 14 so-called tier-one assets, according to Bristow, and Barrick already has six of them, including three in Nevada, two in Africa and one in the Dominican Republic. The company has a handful of other assets that are on the verge of becoming tier one, which refers to mines that have produced more than 500,000 ounces of gold per year for at least 10 years at the lower half of the cost curve.

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