For a company with “gold” in its name, Barrick Gold Corp. has become noticeably fixated on copper. The world’s second-largest bullion producer recently approached First Quantum Minerals Ltd. to discuss a potential takeover, Bloomberg reported last week.
And while the move was unsuccessful — Barrick’s informal overtures were rebuffed — its interest in buying a $17 billion copper miner provides the starkest evidence yet of a shifting focus at the company whose origins lie in Nevada’s gold veins.
Mark Bristow, Barrick’s swashbuckling chief executive, has talked for years about his desire to grow in copper. Now, the emphasis may be taking on a greater urgency:
Barrick’s gold production has dropped to multi-decade lows, while longstanding industry rival Newmont Corp. recently announced a huge acquisition that will catapult it well out of Barrick’s league in gold.
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