Barrick Gold

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Barrick Gold Corporation
Type Public company
Traded as TSXABX
S&P/TSX 60 component
Industry Metals and Mining
Founded 1983
Founders Peter Munk
Headquarters Toronto, Canada
Key people Peter Munk, Founder & Chairman
Jamie Sokalsky, CEO
Kelvin Dushnisky, Co-President
James (Jim) Gowans, Co-President & COO
Ammar Al-Joundy, Senior Executive Vice President & CFO
Products Gold
Revenue $14.312 billion (2011)
Net income $4.537 billion (2011)
Employees 20,034 (2011)[1]
Divisions Africa
North America
South America

Barrick Gold Corporation is the largest gold mining company in the world, with its headquarters in Toronto, Ontario, Canada; and four regional business units (RBU's) located in Australia, Africa, North America and South America. Barrick is currently undertaking mining and exploration projects in Papua New Guinea, the United States, Canada, Dominican Republic, Australia, Peru, Chile, Russia, South Africa, Colombia, Argentina and Tanzania. For 2008, it produced 7.7 million ounces of gold at a cash cost of US $443/ounce. As of December 31, 2008 its proven and probable gold mineral reserves stand at 138.5 million ounces (3912 tonnes), the company used a reserve price assumption of $1,100/oz for 2013.[2]

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[edit]

Barrick Gold Corporation evolved from a privately held North American oil and gas company,[3] Barrick Resources.[4] After suffering huge financial losses in oil and gas,[5] principal Peter Munk decided to focus on gold.[6] Barrick Resources Corporation became a publicly traded company on May 2, 1983,[7] listing on the Toronto Stock Exchange.[8]

The company’s first acquisition was the Renabie mine, near Wawa, Ontario,[9] which produced around 16,000 troy ounces (0.50 t) of gold in 1984.[10] In 1984, Barrick acquired Camflo Mining,[11] which had operations in the province of Quebec[10] and in the U.S. state of Nevada.[12] Barrick’s effort to purchase was slowed by skepticism the company could assume Camflo’s debt of around $100 million.[13] 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.[14] The debt was fully paid in January 1985.[15]

Barrick Resource’s next acquisition was the Mercur mine in Mercur, Utah in June 1985,[16] followed by the Goldstrike mine, in Nevada, in 1986.[17] The Goldstrike mine is located on the Carlin Trend, estimated to hold 100,000,000 troy ounces (3,100 t) of gold.[18]

1986 to 2005[edit]

The company’s name was changed to American Barrick Resources in 1986.[19] It was listed on the New York Stock Exchange in February 1987.[20] The name was changed to the present Barrick Gold Corporation in 1995.[21]

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.[22] 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.[23] 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.[24] 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.[25] The purchase moved Barrick to second largest gold producer in the world.[25]

Placer Dome acquisition[edit]

The company offered US $9.2 billion for Placer Dome Inc. in a bid announced October 31, 2005.[26] During the following weeks, Placer Dome recommended shareholders reject the offer.[27] In December, Placer Dome’s board of directors approved an increased offer worth US $10.4 billion.[28] The transaction closed in early 2006, making Barrick the world’s largest gold producer.[29]

2006 to present[edit]

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.[30]

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.[31]

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.[32] Recovery rates for silver were below 7%, because the metal is bound within silica, which is difficult to dissolve using conventional cyanidation processing.[32] 1,750 researchers from 43 countries registered as participants with 130 proposals submitted.[33] Nine proposals were selected for testing.[34]

Barrick Gold created the largest stock offering in Canadian history during 2009,[35] when it issued a $3 billion equity offering, which was increased the following day to $3.5 billion in response to market demand.[36] 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.[37]

In February, 2010, Barrick Gold announced plans to create a separate company to hold its assets in Tanzania, called African Barrick Gold.[38] Barrick Gold would retain majority ownership in the new company, after its listing on the London Stock Exchange.[38] African Barrick Gold was listed on the London Stock Exchange in mid-March 2010, with an IPO valuation at US$3.6 billion.[39] The shares offered on the LSE raised just more than 500 million pounds.[40] In June the company was admitted to the FTSE 100 Index.[41]

In April 2011, Barrick beat a takeover offer for Equinox Minerals by China Minmetals.[42][43]

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.

Environmental impact[edit]

Mining practices[edit]

Barrick Gold has been accused of a number of environmentally unsound practices by environmental groups.[44][45][46] The company has countered accusations by activists, challenging the accuracy of criticisms.[47] It reported environment-related spending of USD $89 million in 2009.[48]

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

Criticisms include poisonous spills of cyanide, mercury and other heavy metals, leading to environmental damage and the poisoning of human populations.[citation needed] In 2010, the government of Western Australia issued environmental approval for the joint owners, Barrick Gold and Newmont Mining, to expand the mine site and continue operating until 2021.[49] The Lake Cowal Mine was the first mine in the world certified under the International Cyanide Management Code.[50] The code was developed jointly by the mining industry and stakeholders with the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) to certify management, health and safety practices in the production through third party audits.[51] The mine site uses chromatography to "track and manage both the cyanide employed to leach the gold from its ore and the reagents subsequently added to destroy residual cyanide before discharge into the tailings dam."[52]

Nineteen of the company’s mines have since been certified under the code, while three Barrick operations do not use cyanide.[53]

Porgera Gold Mine, Papua New Guinea[edit]

Following accusations connected with the Porgera Gold Mine, on January 30, 2009 the company was excluded from The Government Pension Fund of Norway, one of the world's largest sovereign wealth funds. The fund's Council on Ethics in an investigation found "an unacceptable risk of contribution to ongoing and future environmental damage" at the Porgera mine:

The Council has investigated whether riverine tailings disposal from the Porgera mine in Papua New Guinea generates severe environmental damage, and finds it established that the mining operation at Porgera entails considerable pollution. [...] In the Council’s view heavy metals contamination constitutes the biggest threat of severe and long-term environmental damage. The Council also considers it probable that the discharge has a negative impact on the population’s life and health, including both the residents of the actual mining area and the tribal peoples who live along the river downstream of the mine.[54]

The fund sold all its stock in the company, worth ca. 245m US$, as a result of these conclusions.[55] A spokesman for the company disputed the allegations, saying the company was "making steady progress in improving its performance. The mine follows a government-approved environmental management and monitoring program, and we continue to operate in full compliance with legal and other requirements."[56][57][58]

The tailings disposal is approved by the government of Papua New Guinea, which monitors to ensure World Health Organization standards for toxicity.[59] Factors including the nature of the topography geochemistry and tectonics influence tailings facility design, such that "the difficulty in ensuring that a long-term maintenance plan can be sustained in perpetuity given the challenging conditions, combined with social demands on the customary lands often preclude any tailings storage facility development."[60][61] Tailings are neutralized before discharge to address residual cyanide and metals.[62] A study found lead and silver in mine sediments had been noted near hazardous levels but detected human health concerns(s) were related to "the accumulation of mercury in Lake Murray, which cannot be isolated as an effect of the mine-derived sediment."[63] Some tailings at Porgera mine are managed through paste backfill,[64] a process where tailings are mixed with a binder like cement and pumped into voids under ground to solidify.[65] The Porgera Mine was certified under International Cyanide Management Code following evaluation by an independent third party examiner in November, 2009.[66]

Relations to local populations[edit]

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".[67] They also related stories about "lack of free, prior and informed consent for local people".[67] 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.[68]

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.[69] A former tribal chairman of the Duck Valley Shoshone spoke of the company as "a pretty progressive entity."[70] 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.[71][72]

In 2010, Barrick Gold Corporation became the 18th company to join the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights[73] which provides "guidance to extractives companies on maintaining the security of their operations in a manner that respects human rights and fundamental freedoms."[74] Admission follows an eight step process that requires approval by the Voluntary Principles plenary,[75] the main decision-making body, consisting of all active members, drawn from participating governments, companies and non-governmental organizations.[76] Barrick Gold participates in a number of corporate social responsibility programs, such as the United Nations Global Compact.[77] The company is a signatory to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.[78] It also participates in The Global Reporting Initiative, Business for Social Responsibility[79] and The Global Business Coalition on HIV/Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria.[80] On September 7, 2007, Barrick was added to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index.[81] The company is a member of The International Leadership Council (ILC) of The Nature Conservancy.[82] In Papua New Guinea, the Porgera Joint Venture participated in the development of a wildlife conservation area in the Kaijende Highlands.[83]

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".[84][85] 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. .[86]

Renewable energy[edit]

DeWind D8.2 2MW wind turbine[87] 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.[87][88]

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.[89][90] In Nevada, Barrick operates a 1-megawatt solar panel farm.[91] There are also plans to build a 9-turbine wind farm at the Golden Sunlight mine in Montana when the operation closes.[92]

Pueblo Viejo mining project[edit]

Pueblo Viejo mining project takes place in the Dominican Republic and is operated by Barrick Pueblo Viejo, a firm owned by Barrick and Goldcorp.[93] It is based on an agreement of the government of the country and the firm.[93] 25 years of operation are scheduled for this project, which is likely to raise the exports of the Dominican Republic clearly.[93] The project has caused contamination and illegal logging.[94]

Pascua Lama project[edit]

Main article: Pascua Lama

Pascua Lama is a mining project at a large and complex poly-metallic orebody in the high mountains south of Atacama on the border between Chile and Argentina. In early 2006, the project was approved by the environmental authority in the region of Chile where the mine will be constructed. The 19-member regional environmental commission (COREMA) voted unanimously to allow the project to proceed, with conditions imposed to protect the ice fields and the water supply to the Huasco Valley.[95][96] A decision to move forward with the project was deferred while sectoral permits were finalized for activity like road construction[97] and taxation agreements between Chile and Argentina were negotiated by the two countries.[98] In May, 2009 it was announced the project would proceed to construction.[99]

Barrick Gold acquired the deposit with its acquisition of Lac Minerals in 1993 and is investing close to US$3 billion in this project, which had a planned lifetime of at least 20 years.[100]

The original scope of the ore body lay partially under Esperanza, Toro 1 and Toro 2 glaciers, which feed glacial meltwater into the rivers of the Huasco Province and Barrick Chile had planned on removing ice from these glaciers. The inhabitants of the Huasco valley, a semi-arid region, depend on water resources from the upper catchments in high-altitude Andes glaciers which contribute to the "discharge of two Huasco River headwaters: the Estrecho River and the Potrerillos River (29.3 S; 70.1 W)." [101] Environmental reviews took place over more than two years[102] and government authorities imposed 400 conditions on the company in order to mine.[103] As a consequence, more than one million ounces of gold at the site will not be mined.[104] USD $70 million has been placed in trust for spending over twenty years on water related infrastructure, and in the areas of health, education and agriculture.[105] In January, 2010, Chilean authorities began a probe into construction, over concerns about a water source to the project, construction noise and control of dust levels.[106]

In May 2013, Chile's Superintendence of the Environment Superintendencia del Medio Ambiente (SMA) notified Barrick Gold that the company had to cease construction activities at Pascua-Lama until their complete water management system was in accordance with the project's environmental permit. Barrick Gold was also fined approximately $16 million for noncompliance regarding the project's water management system.[107]

Legal controversy[edit]

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.[108] 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.[109] Subsequently, Talon decided to publish the work 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, world-wide, that they feel it may contain."’[110]

Through 2009 and into 2010 Barrick Gold’s Cortez Hills project was the subject of litigation in Nevada.[111] 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.[112] 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.[113] In March 2011 the Bureau of Land Management approved a subsequent study on environmental impacts, allowing the mine to operate as originally proposed.[114]

In several countries, Barrick Gold has been accused of violating human rights, and its employees charged with crimes. 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. .[86]


Goldman Sachs analysts predicted that the price of gold from 2017 onward would be $1,200. J.P. Morgan Natural Resources fund's James Sutton agreed that the price of gold must remain above $1200 in order for most gold producers to be profitable. If the price slumps below that, the gold mining industry could be at a severe risk after 2017.[115]

Gold production[edit]

Recent gold production figures for the company's mines were (ounces per annum):[116]

Mine Country 2007 2008 2009 2010
Bald Mountain Gold Mine United States United States 75,000 59,000
Bulyanhulu Gold Mine Tanzania Tanzania 249,000
Buzwagi Gold Mine Tanzania Tanzania 189,000
Cortez Gold Mine United States United States 518,000 1,140,000
Cowal Gold Mine Australia Australia 233,000 298,000
Golden Sunlight Gold Mine United States United States 28,000 0
Goldstrike Gold Mine United States United States
Hemlo Gold Mine Canada Canada 275,000 242,000
Kanowna Belle Gold Mine Australia Australia 362,000 267,000 284,000 251,000
Lagunas Norte Gold Mine Peru Peru
Marigold Gold Mine 1 United States United States 49,000 46,000
North Mara Gold Mine Tanzania Tanzania 212,000
Osborne Mine Australia Australia 43,000
Pascua-Lama Mine Argentina Argentina Chile Chile
Pierina Gold Mine Peru Peru 271,000 191,000
Plutonic Gold Mine Australia Australia 208,000 127,000 144,000 136,000
Porgera Gold Mine 6 Papua New Guinea Papua New Guinea 551,000 519,000
Pueblo Viejo Gold Mine 8 Dominican Republic Dominican Republic
Round Mountain Gold Mine 2 United States United States 209,000 178,000
Ruby Hill Gold Mine United States United States 104,000 81,000
Super Pit Gold Mine (Kalgoorlie) 5 Australia Australia 314,000 307,000 345,000 394,000
Turquoise Ridge Gold Mine 3 United States United States 133,000 124,000
Tulawaka Gold Mine 4 Tanzania Tanzania 66,000
Veladero Gold Mine Argentina Argentina 611,000 1,120,000
Yilgarn South 7 Australia Australia N/A 325,000 352,000 314,000
Overall World 8,643,000 8,060,000 7,400,000
  • 1 Barrick owns 33% of the Marigold Gold Mine, production figures are Barrick's share of production.
  • 2 Barrick owns 50% of the Round Mountain Gold Mine, production figures are Barrick's share of production.
  • 3 Barrick owns 75% of the Turquoise Ridge Gold Mine, production figures are Barrick's share of production.
  • 4 Barrick owns 70% of the Tulawaka Ridge Gold Mine, production figures are Barrick's share of production.
  • 5 Barrick owns 50% of the Super Pit Gold Mine, production figures are Barrick's share of production.
  • 6 Barrick owns 95% of the Porgera Gold Mine, production figures are Barrick's share of production.
  • 7 Since the beginning of 2008, Yilgarn South consists of the Darlot, Granny Smith and Lawlers Gold Mines.
  • 8 Barrick holds a 60% interest of the Pueblo Viejo Mine, production figures are Barrick's share of production.

Copper production[edit]

Recent copper production figures for the company's mines were (pounds per annum):

Mine Country 2007 2008 2009 2010
Osborne Mine Australia Australia 91,000,000
Zaldívar Copper Mine Chile Chile 302,000,000 318,000,000
Overall World 393,000,000

See also[edit]


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  3. ^ Rohmer, pp. 191-192.
  4. ^ Rohmer, p. 193.
  5. ^ Rohmer, p. 198.
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Further reading[edit]

  • Rohmer, Richard (1997). Golden Phoenix: The biography of Peter Munk. Toronto: Key Porter Books. ISBN 1-55013-912-6. 

External links[edit]