Barrick Gold

Barrick Gold Corporation
Public company
Traded as TSX: ABX
S&P/TSX 60 component
Industry Metals and Mining
Founded 1983 (1983)
Founder Peter Munk
Headquarters Toronto, Canada
Key people
John L. Thornton, Chairman
Kelvin Dushnisky, President
Richard Williams, COO
Shaun Usmar, CFO
Products Gold

Barrick Gold Corporation is the largest gold mining company in the world, with its headquarters in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Barrick is currently undertaking mining projects in Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, the Dominican Republic, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Saudi Arabia, the United States and Zambia. For 2013, it produced 7.2 million ounces of gold at all-in sustaining costs of US $915/ounce and 539 million pounds of copper at C1 cash costs of $1.92/pound. As of December 31, 2013, its proven and probable mineral reserves were 104.1 million ounces of gold, 888 million ounces of silver contained within gold reserves, and 14.0 billion pounds of copper.

On January 20, 2006, Barrick acquired a majority share of Placer Dome. The production of the combined organization moved Barrick to its current position as the largest gold producer, ahead of Newmont Mining Corporation.


Founding and early years

Barrick Gold Corporation evolved from a privately held North American oil and gas company,[1] Barrick Resources.[2] After suffering huge financial losses in oil and gas,[3] principal Peter Munk decided to focus on gold.[4] Barrick Resources Corporation became a publicly traded company on May 2, 1983,[5] listing on the Toronto Stock Exchange.[6]

The company’s first acquisition was the Renabie mine, near Wawa, Ontario,[7] which produced around 16,000 troy ounces (0.50 t) of gold in 1984,[8] but its best year was 1990 with 48,000 ounces produced.[9] In 1984, Barrick acquired Camflo Mining,[10] which had operations in the province of Quebec[8] and in the U.S. state of Nevada.[11] Barrick’s effort to purchase was slowed by skepticism the company could assume Camflo’s debt of around $100 million.[12] The sale was finalized in May 1984, with terms that obligated Barrick to repay the debt to The Royal Bank of Canada within one year.[13] The debt was fully paid in January 1985.[14]

Barrick Resource’s next acquisition was the Mercur mine in Mercur, Utah, in June 1985,[15] followed by the Goldstrike mine, in Nevada, in 1986.[16] The Goldstrike mine is located on the Carlin Trend.

1986 to 2005

The company’s name was changed to American Barrick Resources in 1986.[17] It was listed on the New York Stock Exchange in February 1987.[18] The name was changed to the present Barrick Gold Corporation in 1995.[19]

In a 1994 friendly takeover, American Barrick became the third largest gold mining company in the world when it acquired the Canadian mining company Lac Minerals, which owned properties in North and South America.[20] Two years later, in 1996, Arequipa Resources, owner of properties including the Pierina mine in Peru, accepted a takeover offer from the renamed Barrick Gold Corporation, worth about USD $800,000,000.[21] A third acquisition followed in early 1999, when Barrick Gold acquired Sutton Resources Ltd. for around $350 million in stock, assuming ownership of properties in Tanzania.[22] In 2001 Barrick Gold made another stock deal, worth about USD $2.3 billion, to buy the Homestake Mining Company, then one of the oldest mining companies in the United States.[23] The purchase moved Barrick to second largest gold producer in the world.[23]

Placer Dome acquisition

The company offered US $9.2 billion for Placer Dome Inc. in a bid announced October 31, 2005.[24] During the following weeks, Placer Dome recommended shareholders reject the offer.[25] In December, Placer Dome’s board of directors approved an increased offer worth US $10.4 billion.[26] The transaction closed in early 2006, making Barrick the world’s largest gold producer.[27]

2006 to present

On July 24, 2006, Barrick announced their intent to purchase NovaGold Resources and Pioneer Metals. The unsolicited bid for NovaGold Resources was at US $1.29 billion or US $14.50 per share, and the solicited bid for Pioneer Metals was at US $53 million or US $.88 per share. NovaGold management quickly characterized Barrick's bid for their company as undervalued. Pioneer management however quickly endorsed Barrick's bid for their company. Previously on June 19, 2006, NovaGold made an unsolicited bid for Pioneer Metals at US $31 million. NovaGold and Pioneer are currently in litigation over the Grace project in British Columbia, Canada. That project is adjacent to NovaGold's Galore Creek project and 75 kilometers away from Barrick's Eskay Creek mine. NovaGold and Barrick also cross paths at the Donlin Creek project in Alaska where NovaGold is 70% owner and Barrick is 30% owner, however Barrick has the right to earn in a 70% share as a result of their takeover of Placer Dome in January 2006.

On August 14, 2006, NovaGold filed a lawsuit in British Columbia, Canada, alleging that Barrick misused confidential information to make its bid for Pioneer metals. As part of the suit, NovaGold is asking that any shares tendered to Barrick under the Pioneer bid be held in a trust for NovaGold. On August 25, 2006, NovaGold filed a second lawsuit against Barrick – this time in the District of Alaska court alleging that Barrick violated U.S. security laws by misrepresenting its position by repeatedly stating it is on-track to earn a 70% interest in the Donlin Creek mine. The suit sought a temporary suspension of Barrick's hostile bid for NovaGold.

On December 16, 2006, after extending the bid for NovaGold 6 times, increasing the offer once, and lowering the threshold for takeup of tendered shares from 75% to 50%, and then to no minimum, Barrick finally let the bid expire. The net result for Barrick was a takeup of 12.7% of the outstanding NovaGold shares. Barrick's then Chief Executive Greg Wilkins indicated that the company would look elsewhere for acquisition opportunities. More recently, the company was reported to be eyeing Aurelian Resources in Ecuador.[28]

In November 2007, NovaGold and Teck Cominco announced the suspension of Galore Creek project and Nova Gold share plummeted. During the summer and Autumn of 2008, Nova Gold tried to put their Rock Creek project in Alaska into production. After less than two months of operation, production was shut down for obscure reasons. On January 2, 2009, Nova Gold announced a 60 million dollar private placement for a 30% control in the company, valuing the company at approximately 200 million dollars, or 1/8 of the price offered by Barrick two years earlier.[29]

Through 2007 and 2008 the company offered a USD $10 million prize to the scientific community in a bid to improve silver recovery rates at its Veladero mine in Argentina.[30] Recovery rates for silver were below 7%, because the metal is bound within silica, which is difficult to dissolve using conventional cyanidation processing.[30] 1,750 researchers from 43 countries registered as participants with 130 proposals submitted.[31] Nine proposals were selected for testing.[32]

Barrick Gold created the largest stock offering in Canadian history during 2009,[33] when it issued a $3 billion equity offering, which was increased the following day to $3.5 billion in response to market demand.[34] Revenue from the offering was used to eliminate the company’s gold hedges, which locked in the sale price of future production, rather than selling it at market prices.[35]

In February 2010, Barrick Gold announced plans to create a separate company to hold its assets in Tanzania, called African Barrick Gold.[36] Barrick Gold would retain majority ownership in the new company, after its listing on the London Stock Exchange.[36] African Barrick Gold was listed on the London Stock Exchange in mid-March 2010, with an IPO valuation at US$3.6 billion.[37] The shares offered on the LSE raised just more than 500 million pounds.[38] In June the company was admitted to the FTSE 100 Index.[39]

In April 2011, Barrick beat a takeover offer for Equinox Minerals by China Minmetals.[40][41]

In August 2013 Barrick agreed to sell its Yilgarn South assets in Western Australia to South Africa’s Gold Fields for $US300 million divesting its granny smith darlot and lawlers mine operations.

In July 2014, Barrick announced changes to its executive management structure. Kevin Dushnisky and Jim Gowans (Current COO) have been appointed as Co-Presidents, taking responsibility for execution of the company's operating plans and strategic priorities. Current CFO, Ammar Al-Joundi is being promoted to Senior Executive Vice President. In conjunction with the restructuring, Jamie Sokalsky will be stepping down, effective September 15, 2014.


Barrick is organized into ten operating units:[42]
• Five individual gold mines – Cortez, Goldstrike, Pueblo Viejo, Lagunas Norte, and Veladero
• Two gold mine portfolios – North America, Other and Australia Pacific
• 9% equity interest in African Barrick Gold plc
• One global copper business
• One project (Pascua-Lama)


Veladero mine


Cowal gold mine
Super Pit gold mine (50% ownership)


Hemlo gold mine


Pascua Lama
Zaldivar copper mine (50% ownership)

Dominican Republic

Pueblo Viejo mine (60% ownership)

Papua New Guinea

Porgera Gold Mine (95% ownership)


Lagunas Norte mine
Pierina gold mine

Saudi Arabia

Jabal Sayid (development)

United States

Bald Mountain mine
Cortez Gold Mine
Golden Sunlight mine
Goldstrike mine
Round Mountain Gold Mine (50% ownership)
Turquoise Ridge gold mine (75% ownership)


Lumwana mine

Mining practices

Barrick Gold has been accused of a number of environmentally unsound practices by environmental groups.[43][44][45] The company has countered accusations by activists, challenging the accuracy of criticisms.[46] It reported environment-related spending of USD $89 million in 2009.[47]

The Super Pit gold mine
Looking down into the Porgera open pit.

Relations to local populations

In April and May 2008, indigenous leaders from four countries opposing large-scale gold mining on their lands described the adverse impacts of Barrick Gold Corporation. These leaders spoke of Barrick Gold's tactics in "suppressing dissident voices, dividing communities, and manipulating local and national politics".[48] They also related stories about "lack of free, prior and informed consent for local people".[48] Barrick is party to a lawsuit originally filed against Placer Dome Inc. by the local government claiming compensation for the 1996 Marcopper Mining Disaster. Barrick Gold inherited the litigation after taking over Placer Dome, Inc.[49]

In 2008, the company negotiated an agreement with four of five regional Western Shoshone tribes, providing financial resources for education and wellness initiatives, including a long-term scholarship program, allocated at the Tribes’ discretion.[50] A former tribal chairman of the Duck Valley Shoshone spoke of the company as "a pretty progressive entity."[51] In British Columbia the Tahltan Nation has thanked the company for encouraging local sustainable development while operating the Eskay Creek mine from 2001 to 2008.[52][53]

In 2010, Barrick Gold Corporation became the 18th company to join the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights[54] which provides "guidance to extractives companies on maintaining the security of their operations in a manner that respects human rights and fundamental freedoms."[55] Admission follows an eight step process that requires approval by the Voluntary Principles plenary,[56] the main decision-making body, consisting of all active members, drawn from participating governments, companies and non-governmental organizations.[57] Barrick Gold participates in a number of corporate social responsibility programs, such as the United Nations Global Compact.[58] The company is a signatory to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.[59] It also participates in The Global Reporting Initiative, Business for Social Responsibility[60] and The Global Business Coalition on HIV/Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria.[61] On September 7, 2007, Barrick was added to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index.[62] The company is a member of The International Leadership Council (ILC) of The Nature Conservancy.[63] In Papua New Guinea, the Porgera Joint Venture participated in the development of a wildlife conservation area in the Kaijende Highlands.[64]

In 2011, Human Rights Watch (HRW) published a report that alleged that the private security force at Barrick's Porgera mine in Papua New Guinea had carried out "gang rapes and other violent abuses". Barrick conducted an internal investigation, assisted a police investigation and a number of security personnel were arrested and charged. HRW said the company should have "acted long before Human Rights Watch conducted its research prompted them into action" but had "taken meaningful steps to investigate past abuses and make it less likely for similar abuses to occur in future".[65][66] Barrick Gold revealed in 2013 that, after an independent investigation, the company was paying indemnities to 14 women raped by mine security guards in Tanzania. In addition to cash, the women were also receiving therapy, job training, relocation, and child education expenses. .[67]

Renewable energy

DeWind D8.2 2MW wind turbine[68] at the Veladero mine in San Juan Province, Argentina

In 2007, Barrick Gold installed the world's highest-situated wind turbine at the Veladero mine in San Juan Province (Argentina) at nearly 4,200m elevation.[68][69]

The company has made a request to Chile’s environmental authority, COREMA, to expand a proposed wind farm project in Chile’s Region IV from ten wind turbines to eighteen wind turbines, that would generate 36 megawatts of electricity into the national power grid.[70][71] In Nevada, Barrick operates a 1-megawatt solar panel farm.[72] There are also plans to build a 9-turbine wind farm at the Golden Sunlight mine in Montana when the operation closes.[73]

Legal controversy

In February 2010 lawyers for Barrick Gold threatened to sue the Canadian publisher Talonbooks for defamation if it proceeded with plans to publish the book Imperial Canada Inc.: Legal Haven of Choice for the World's Mining Industries by Alain Deneault.[74] Publisher Karl Siegler described this as "libel chill," pointing out that since the book had not yet been published, Barrick Gold could not know whether or not its contents actually constituted defamation.[75] Subsequently, Talon decided to publish the work (ISBN 9780889226357)[76] and ‘issued a statement saying they "intend to show the complete manuscript to Barrick prior to the book’s release, to allow Barrick the opportunity to ‘correct’ any ‘falsehoods’ about how they conduct their business affairs, worldwide, that they feel it may contain."’[77]

A 2011 decision in Quebec Superior Court had ruled that Barrick Gold had to pay $143,000 to authors Alain Deneault, Delphine Abadie, William Sacher and publisher Les Éditions Écosociété Inc, to prepare their defence in a “seemingly abusive” strategic lawsuit against public participation. Despite the Québec ruling, a book "Noir Canada" documenting the relationship between Canadian mining corporations, armed conflict and political actors in Africa was never published as part of a settlement which, according to the authors, was only made for the sole purpose of resolving the three-and-a-half year legal battle.[78]

Through 2009 and into 2010 Barrick Gold’s Cortez Hills project was the subject of litigation in Nevada, seeking to block the project.[79] Opponents appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, challenging a ruling in the United States District Court for the District of Nevada, which denied the bid to block the project.[80] The Appeals Court "upheld a federal judge's finding that opponents of the mine failed to prove they were likely to prevail on claims the mine would cause visual harm to Mount Tenabo and create a substantial burden on the tribes' ability to exercise their religion" but ruled the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s previous environmental review of water and air pollution impacts "was inadequate under the National Environmental Policy Act" and ordered the District Court to provide "appropriate" injunctive relief while the Bureau of Land Management conducted further study.[81] In March 2011 the Bureau of Land Management approved a subsequent study on environmental impacts, allowing the mine to operate as originally proposed.[82]

Environmental issues

An official investigation, developed by a division of Argentina's Police Department, claims that at least five rivers in San Juan Province have been contaminated by a cyanide spill that occurred in September 2015. Nine Barrick Gold employees are now being investigated by Argentina's Federal Justice.[83][84]

Barrick Gold has confirmed the spill, and has also announced that it had to pay $145 million pesos (almost USS 10 million) in fines. The Company has publicly regretted the incident, and claims that the harmful effects have been corrected.[85]

See also


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  2. Rohmer, p. 193.
  3. Rohmer, p. 198.
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  72. 1/14/2008 "John Seelmeyer, Northern Nevada Business Weekly, 'Barrick Gold nearly done with major solar facility', 14 Jan, 2008" Check |url= value (help).
  73. Gevock, Nick. (@ 6 Mar 2009) ""Wind Farm Planned for Golden Sunlight Mine Land," The Montana Standard, 9 Sep 2008," Check |url= value (help).
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Further reading

External links

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