Barrick CEO suggests miners overpaying for assets amid higher gold prices – by Gabriel Friedman (Financial Post – February 16, 2022)

Barrick is committed to not paying premiums, Mark Bristow says

Shares in Toronto-based Barrick Gold Corp. spiked eight per cent on Wednesday as the company reported higher fourth-quarter earnings and announced a new US$1-billion share buyback program.

Chief executive Mark Bristow said the company is implementing the program because the market is not adequately valuing Barrick. Although gold prices are up 15 per cent, and inflation, normally a trigger for higher gold prices, is reaching its highest point in decades, many gold mining executives say they are not benefiting.

Barrick’s stock closed Wednesday at $27.58 per share, roughly even with its price in February 2020. Bristow noted shares of Colorado-based Newmont Corp. — the world’s largest gold miner (Barrick is second) — have risen 25 per cent since February 2020. Newmont announced a US$1-billion share buyback in January 2021.

“We’ve seen a big divergence, from some, well one of our peers,” Bristow said. “Our discussion with our board and our shareholders is … we shouldn’t be watching our share price languish relative to anything else, and there are moments when it makes good sense to implement some buybacks.”

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