Harmony Gold CEO Sees Opportunity in Barrick-Newmont Merger Talks
It stands to reason that the merger currently in talks between Barrick Gold Corp. and Newmont Mining Corp., if it goes through as planned, would have to be beneficial to the two companies involved. (After all, if it wasn’t beneficial, what would be the point of the merge in the first place?) But how will it affect the gold industry as a whole? It could turn out to be a very good thing – according to Graham Briggs, CEO of South African gold mining outfit Harmony Gold Mining Co, the merger may be a prelude to a lot of opportunity ahead.
As Businessweek reports, Briggs has noted that a lot of opportunity in the way of spinoffs may stem from the troubled merger Barrick and Newmont:
“Look at the situation in North America where two big guys are talking about getting together with possible spinoffs,” Chief Executive Officer Graham Briggs said today on a conference call. “We see this as maybe a potential opportunity in the gold space.”
Where is this opportunity coming from? It would appear that the merger between Barrick and Newmont is not exactly going smoothly, and Barrick could be looking to get rid of some of its current properties in order to make the merger happen:
Barrick, the world’s biggest gold producer, discussed buying Newmont, the second-largest, last month before both companies said April 28 talks were terminated and exchanged a series of statements accusing each other of scuppering the deal. Barrick is working on plans for a range of market scenarios including trimming, closing or expanding certain operations.
If it does go that route, mining outfits like Harmony Gold Mining Co. will be waiting in the wings to snap up any advantageous properties and operations that could end up on Barrick’s chopping block.
It’s been a good day for Harmony, with a rise in gold prices pushing the company’s quarterly assets into an incline despite decreased production. If Harmony is able to increase production through the acquisition of new properties, its year overall could get even better still.
Vale announces first ore at Voisey’s Bay mine extension
Vale has achieved first ore production at the Voisey’s Bay mine extension. Home to one of the largest nickel deposits in the world, Voisey’s Bay has been producing nickel from an open-pit operation since 2005. The transition to underground involves the development of two underground mines.
Reid Brook and Eastern Deeps are extending the life of Vale’s Labrador operations and achieving production of 40,000 tons of nickel in concentrate at a peak annual production rate of 2.6 million tonnes by 2025, with about 20,000 tonnes copper and 2,600 tonnes of cobalt as by-products. The project is 65% complete, with executed capital expenditures of $1.26bn and Eastern Deeps start-up is expected for 2022.
Voisey’s Bay is recognised as the safest mine in Canada
“Our Voisey’s Bay operations, and indeed our entire operating footprint in Newfoundland and Labrador, represent an incredible story of Indigenous participation, economic capacity building, environmental responsibility and safety performance,” said Mark Travers, Executive Vice-President for Base Metals with Vale.
Voisey’s Bay Mine is a multiple winner of the John T. Ryan Award recognising the safest mine performance in Canada – receiving the honor again in 2021. Faced with the unprecedented challenges of COVID-19, the Mine Expansion Project followed suit, reaching first ore production with zero lost time injuries since construction began in 2018.
Indigenous workers are key to Vale’s success
Indigenous participation is a hallmark of the Voisey’s Bay operation, enjoying a collaborative relationship with its Indigenous partners, Innu Nation & Nunatsiavut Government, on whose traditional lands the Voisey’s Bay Complex is located.
Since the Voisey’s Bay mine expansion project began in 2018, Innu and Nunatsiavut Inuit employment has more than doubled to approximately 500 employees and 65% of all procurement contracts for the project were awarded to Indigenous-owned businesses. The ability to mine and process ore from underground will continue to generate local employment, procurement, capacity-building and shared benefit for many years to come.
Nickel, Copper & Cobalt
Ore produced at Voisey’s Bay is processed at Vale’s Long Harbour, one of the world’s lowest emission nickel processing plants. The sustainably-produced, responsibly sourced nickel, copper and cobalt products will help meet future customer demand in the electric vehicle and clean energy space as industry seek to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and lower carbon footprints.
The production of first ore production at Voisey’s Bay represents Vale’s commitment to the continued delivery of quality, predictable and responsibly sourced material to market with safety, capacity-building and Indigenous participation at the forefront.