Barrick Gold Considers Selling Assets, Hints at Mick Davis Deal
Like most people in the world, Barrick Gold is trying to reduce debt. The Toronto-based gold miner is attempting to cut its debt by $3 billion and has made it very clear they are open to a wide range of asset sales and joint ventures.
Barrick has even hinted at a possible deal with former Xstrata chief executive, Mick Davis.
According to the Financial Times, the company's chairman, John Thornton, said it would be a “good example” to assume that Barrick Gold go into partnership with someone such as Mick Davis, whose company, X2 Resources, is currently looking for investments.
“I could imagine a joint venture in which, let’s say, we sold a minority interest to a party [with] a world-class chief executive and that chief executive was going to run the copper business the way he thought made sense,” Thornton said in an interview with the Financial Times.
“We would build the business with him. We would be majority owner or even 50-50 owner. It would build value for us.”
Thornton also said Barrick is open to finding a strategic long-term partner interested in selected stakes in a cluster of assets.
Thornton, a former Goldman Sachs banker, said Barrick is confident of meeting its target to cut $3 billion this year from its net debt of more than $10 billion. Barrick, which has been one of the worst-performing large miners of the past two years, is desperately trying to rebuild its reputation with investors.
The company is also in the advanced stages of selling two gold mines -- Cowal in Australia and Porgera in Papua New Guinea – and is reportedly considering selling its Zaldivar copper mine in Chile.
On a side note, Thornton did confirm with the Financial Times that Barrick has no plans to try and revive a merger with its US rival Newmont Mining.
(Source: Financial Times)
Gerald Group resolves iron ore dispute with Sierra Leone
Gerald Group, the US commodity trader, will pay Sierra Leone $20mn and cede a 10% stake in an iron ore project as part of the resolution to a nearly two-year dispute that led to the shutdown of production, the two sides revealed.
Gerald's wholly-owned subsidiary SL Mining filed for arbitration in August 2019 over a royalty payment dispute and suspended the Marampa mine the following month. Sierra Leone's government responded by cancelling its mining licence.
As part of the agreement signed on Friday, Sierra Leone will take a non-dilutable 10% stake in a new company that will replace SL Mining and resume operations at Marampa by June 1, Gerald said in a statement.
Gerald will make two $10mn payments this year and will have the immediate right to ship its current stockpile of about 707,000 tonnes of iron ore, it said.
Both sides will withdraw their legal claims before the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), the statement added.
Gerald’s chairman and CEO Craig Dean commented: "I am delighted that we have been able to resolve our differences and have a fresh start and new beginning with the government of Sierra Leone."
Sierra Leone's Mines Minister Timothy Kabba told a news conference on Tuesday that the agreement was a milestone for the country.
"Whatever the pain we may have borne or dreaded throughout these two years ... this outcome justifies our action," he said.
Gerald estimates that Marampa holds about 1 billion tonnes of iron ore with a potential lifespan of 30 years.
Back in 2019, Dean spoke with Mining about the development of Marampa and commented: "SL Mining offers a substantial opportunity for Gerald Group as our Marampa mine in Sierra Leone is producing two million tonnes per annum of high grade iron ore in the first phase of development, with expansion possibilities of greater than six million tonnes per annum of high-grade iron ore during its operational life. If you analyse the iron ore market it has transformed, even from a couple of years ago when prices were very low. Now prices have stabilised we’re in a favourable position with our first shipments leaving for China.
"Our goal is to make ‘Marampa Blue’ an internationally recognised premium grade iron ore brand. We intend to expand the delivery of high-grade 65% iron ore concentrate to markets in Europe and Africa.”