Barrick Gold

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Barrick Gold
S&P/TSX 60 component
IndustryMetals and mining
Founded1983; 38 years ago (1983)
FounderPeter Munk
Toronto, Ontario
Key people
John L. Thornton
(Executive Chairman)
Mark Bristow
(President and Chief Executive Officer)
RevenueIncrease$9,717 million (2019)[1]
Number of employees

Barrick Gold Corporation is a mining company that produces gold and copper with 16 operating sites in 13 countries.[3] It is headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.[4] It has mining operations in Argentina, Canada, Chile, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominican Republic, Mali, Papua New Guinea, Saudi Arabia, Tanzania, the United States and Zambia.[5] In 2019, it produced 5.5 million ounces of gold at all-in sustaining costs of $894/ounce[6] and 432 million pounds of copper at all-in sustaining costs of $2.52/pound.[7] As of December 31, 2019, the company had 71 million ounces of proven and probable gold reserves.[8]

Barrick had been the world's largest gold mining company until Newmont Corporation acquired Goldcorp in 2019.[9] Barrick expects to produce between 4.6 to five million ounces of gold and between 440 to 500 million pounds of copper in 2020.[10]

Chief executive Mark Bristow has said Barrick has debated moving its primary stock listing to the New York Stock Exchange from the Toronto Stock Exchange, allowing it to be traded on the S&P 500 Index and broadening its exposure to potential investors.[11]

Berkshire Hathaway[edit]

Berkshire Hathaway disclosed that it purchased $562 million in shares of Barrick during the second quarter of 2020, immediately making it the eleventh-largest shareholder in the company.[12] The new position is 20.9 million shares, which is 1.2% of the company's outstanding stock.[13] Berkshire CEO Warren Buffett and his key business partner Charlie Munger have a history of dismissing gold as an attractive investment, saying a fine business run by good managers with cash flows and paying dividends is more productive than the precious metal.[14] Buffett has previously said owning shares of quality companies is more valuable than owning gold itself.[15]

Gold Operations[edit]

Property Country Ownership Mine Type 2020 Gold Production (ounces) 2019 Gold Production (ounces) 2019 Gold Reserves (ounces)
Veladero  Argentina 50% Open Pit 240,000-270,000 274,000 2.8 million
Hemlo  Canada 100% Open Pit, Underground 200,000-220,000 213,000 1.3 million
Tongon  Ivory Coast 89.7% Open Pit 240,000-260,000 245,000 610,000
Pueblo Viejo  Dominican Republic 60% Open Pit 530,000-580,000 590,000 5.7 million
Loulo-Gounkoto  Mali 80% Open Pit, Underground 500,000-540,000 572,000 6.4 million
Kibali  Democratic Republic of the Congo 45% Open Pit, Underground 340,000-370,000 366,000 4.2 million
Porgera  Papua New Guinea 47.5% Open Pit, Underground 240,000-270,000 284,000 2.3 million
North Mara  Tanzania 100% Open Pit, Underground 240,000-270,000 251,000 1.7 million
Bulyanhulu  Tanzania 100% Underground 30,000-50,000 27,000 2.2 million
Buzwagi  Tanzania 100% Open Pit 80,000-100,000 83,000 140,000
Carlin  United States 61.5% Open Pit, Underground 1.00-1.05 million 968,000 13 million
Cortez  United States 61.5% Open Pit, Underground 450,000-480,000 801,000 6.1 million
Turquoise Ridge  United States 61.5% Underground 430,000-460,000 335,000 8.3 million
Phoenix  United States 61.5% Open Pit 100,000-120,000 56,000 2 million
Long Canyon  United States 61.5% Open Pit 130,000-150,000 58,000 390,000

Copper Operations[edit]

Property Country Ownership Mine Type 2020 Copper Production (pounds) 2019 Copper Production (pounds) 2019 Copper Reserves (pounds)
Zaldívar  Chile 50% Open Pit 120-135 million 128 million 2.7 billion
Jabal Sayid  Saudi Arabia 50% Underground 60-70 million 66 million 640 million
Lumwana  Zambia 100% Open Pit 250-280 million 238 million 6.6 billion

Former Operations[edit]

Asset Country
Bald Mountain mine  United States
Round Mountain Gold Mine, (50%)  United States
Ruby Hill  United States
Kalgoorlie Super Pit  Australia
Cowal, New South Wales  Australia
Plutonic Gold Mine  Australia
Pierina, Ancash  Peru
Tulawaka  Tanzania


Founding and early years[edit]

Barrick Resources[edit]

Barrick Gold Corporation evolved from a privately held North American oil and gas company,[16] Barrick Resources.[17] After suffering financial losses in oil and gas,[18] founder Peter Munk (1927–2018) decided to refocus the company on gold.[19] Barrick Resources Corporation became a publicly traded company on May 2, 1983,[20] listing on the Toronto Stock Exchange.[21]

1986 to 2005[edit]

American Barrick[edit]

Reflecting its identity as a North American producer, distinct from its South African competitors, the company's name was changed to American Barrick Resources in 1986.[22] It was listed on the New York Stock Exchange in February 1987.[23] Its name was changed to Barrick Gold Corporation in 1995.[24]

Barrick Gold Corporation[edit]

American Barrick became the third-largest gold mining company in the world when it acquired Lac Minerals in 1994, which owned mining properties in North and South America.[25] 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. A third acquisition followed in early 1999, when Barrick Gold acquired Sutton Resources Ltd., assuming ownership of properties in Tanzania.[26] In 2001, Barrick acquired Homestake Mining Company for $2.3 billion in stock, then one of the oldest mining companies in the United States.[27] The purchase made Barrick the second-largest gold producer in the world.[27]

Placer Dome acquisition[edit]

On December 2005, Barrick launched a hostile takeover bid valued at US$9.2 billion for rival Canadian gold miner Placer Dome.[28] The $10.4 billion transaction closed in December 2006.[29][30]

2006 to present[edit]

African Barrick Gold[edit]

In February 2010, Barrick Gold announced plans to create a separate company to hold its assets in Tanzania, called African Barrick Gold.[31] Barrick Gold would retain majority ownership in the new company, after its listing on the London Stock Exchange.[31] African Barrick Gold was listed on the London Stock Exchange in mid-March 2010, with an IPO valuation at US$3.6 billion.[32] The shares offered on the LSE raised just more than 500 million pounds.[33] In June the company was admitted to the FTSE 100 Index.[34]

Equinox Minerals[edit]

In April 2011, Barrick beat a takeover offer for Equinox Minerals by China Minmetals.[35][36]

Shandong Gold[edit]

In 2018, John L. Thornton orchestrated a strategic “trust-based relationship” between Barrick Gold and Shandong Gold Group, a Chinese state-owned enterprise, establishing joint ownership of the Veladero mine to capitalize on Shandong's investor base, capital suppliers, political connections and regional influence. In the press release announcing the partnership, Thornton said that Barrick and Shandong were looking forward to “sharing… capital in ways that will create added value for our respective owners, and our government and community partners in San Juan province”.[37]

Randgold Resources[edit]

In September 2018, Barrick Gold announced an all-stock merger with Randgold Resources in a deal valued at $6.5 billion.[38][39] Former RandGold CEO Mark Bristow became CEO of Barrick Gold with the merger, after his forced resignation from the board of Panthera, a wildlife conservation organization focused on protecting big cats. The Daily Mail revealed he was a trophy hunter, publishing photos of him posing next to animals he had shot, including elephants, an antelope, a gazelle, a lion, a hippo, a buffalo, a zebra and a leopard.[40]

Newmont Corporation[edit]

In February 2019, Barrick Gold announced a hostile $19 billion bid to acquire Newmont Mining Corporation, an American company based in Denver, Colorado.[41][42] Newmont's board immediately and unanimously rejected the offer, describing Barrick's “egocentric proposal” as “designed to transfer value from Newmont shareholders to Barrick’s”.[43] Newmont also said that Barrick has “a comparatively ineffective operating model, a poor track record on delivering shareholder returns and unfavourable jurisdictional risk”.[44][45] Barrick's third-quarter 2019 investor presentation cites Barrick's risks of negative reputational and financial impact from Barrick's “failure to comply with environmental and health and safety regulations”, “lack of certainty with regard to foreign legal systems, corruption” and negative “dealings with community groups”.[46] Newmont CEO Gary Goldberg said, “[O]ne of the major factors that hindered Barrick’s ability to create value in the past remains the same… John Thornton is still firmly in control.”[43]

Nevada Gold Mines[edit]

On July 1, 2019, Barrick and Newmont Corporation launch Nevada Gold Mines.[47][48][49] The combined operation is the single largest gold mining complex in the world and employs more than 7,000 people.[50] It combined the mines Goldstrike, Cortez, Turquoise Ridge, and Goldrush from Barrick and Newmont’s Carlin, Twin Creeks, Phoenix, Long Canyon sites, plus the associated processing plants and infrastructure of both companies.[51] The joint venture was created after Barrick gave up a takeover bid for Newmont in early 2019.[52]

Nevada Gold Mines in total comprises 10 underground and 12 opencast mines, two autoclave facilities, two roasting facilities, four oxide mills, a flotation plant and five heap leach facilities.[53] Barrick owns 61.5% of the joint venture and operates the business, while Newmont owns 38.5%.[54] It was estimated that $500 million could be saved by creating the joint venture in average annual synergies during the first five years of operating the joint venture.[55] After its first year of operation, $35 million in operating and management costs were saved.[56] Over 20 years, it is estimated that $4.7 billion of total savings will be realised.[57]

Mining practices[edit]

Barrick Gold's business activities have generated significant controversy around the world, including allegations of mass rape[58] and other violent abuses,[59] hundreds of murders,[60] forcible eviction and mass arson.[61] Barrick and certain of its executives have been charged at various times and in various jurisdictions with bribery,[62] conspiracy,[63] forgery, money-laundering,[64] tax-evasion,[65] and incalculable environmental damage.[66]

Barrick mines have spurred violent conflict around the world. Between 2010 and 2013, three people were killed and 50 were injured at Barrick's Pueblo Viejo mine in the Dominican Republic. At Barrick's Pascua Lama mine in Chile, 40 people were arrested following a demonstration against Barrick's alleged pollution of local glaciers.[67]

Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights[edit]

In 2010, Barrick Gold Corporation became the 18th company to join the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights[68] which provides "guidance to extractives companies on maintaining the security of their operations in a manner that respects human rights and fundamental freedoms."[69] Admission follows an eight step process that requires approval by the Voluntary Principles plenary,[70] the main decision-making body, consisting of all active members, drawn from participating governments, companies and non-governmental organizations.[71] Barrick Gold participates in a number of corporate social responsibility programs, such as the United Nations Global Compact.[72] The company is a signatory to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.[73] It also participates in The Global Reporting Initiative, Business for Social Responsibility[74] and The Global Business Coalition on HIV/Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria.[75] On September 7, 2007, Barrick was added to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index.[76] The company is a member of The International Leadership Council (ILC) of The Nature Conservancy.[77] In Papua New Guinea, the Porgera Joint Venture participated in the development of a wildlife conservation area in the Kaijende Highlands.[78]



In March 2014, Barrick Gold spilled over one million liters of cyanide solution into five rivers near Barrick's Veladero site in the San Juan province of Argentina.[66] Barrick waited six days to report the spill and initially neglected to identify the leaked chemical solution as containing cyanide,[79] but eventually connected the million-liter spill to “a frozen valve and a sluice gate that was left open at the time of the valve failure.” Some Argentine provinces ban mining processes that involve cyanide.[79]


Raman Autar, a former senior manager of global maintenance for Barrick Gold in 2013 and 2014, was abruptly dismissed from his role in March 2014 after raising concerns about maintenance and safety risks at the Veladero mine. He alleged that he was fired for being a whistleblower. Numerous organizations – including Friends of the Earth International, Chile's National Water Commission, Argentina's Center for Human Rights and Environment and the National Environment Management Council – have demanded Barrick stop environmentally destructive mining practices, citing noncompliance with environmental laws resulting in contaminated water and other environmental devastation.[66]

Class Action Lawsuit[edit]

In March 2016, Barrick shareholders brought a class-action lawsuit against Barrick Gold, accusing the company of distorting facts and knowingly misleading shareholders regarding the company's compliance with environmental regulations in Argentina and Chile. There was another cyanide spill in March 2017, as Barrick had failed to complete improvements to the mine that could have prevented the spill. Operations were partially suspended for the third time in 18 months and local regulators opened an investigation into past negligence and demanded that Barrick overhaul its environmental and operating processes.[80] Barrick Chairman John L. Thornton flew to Argentina to meet with the Minister of Energy, Juan José Aranguen, who demanded that Barrick put in place a new strategy for the mine or else its license would be rescinded. The Argentine government demanded the closure of the original project site. This coincided with the sale of 50% of the Veladero mine for $960 million to Shandong Gold Group, a Chinese mining company. Thornton was reported to have been the principal negotiator in the deal.[81]



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.[82] 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.[83] Subsequently, Talon decided to publish the work (ISBN 9780889226357)[84] 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.'"[82]

Noir Canada[edit]

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 defense 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.[85]

Papua New Guinea[edit]

Human Rights Watch[edit]

In 2011, Human Rights Watch (HRW) published a report alleging that the private security force at Barrick's Porgera mine in Papua New Guinea had carried out "gang rapes and other violent abuses", which include repeated acts of mass rape and other sexual abuse, murder, arson, forcible eviction and other forms of violence against community members near the Porgera Joint Venture mine over a period of several years.[86][87][88][89][59] The tension between Barrick and the local community stems from impoverished locals illegally trespassing on Barrick property to scavenge for bits of gold in the mine's waste dumps. Barrick employs the local police to keep community members off company-owned land. Numerous community members, men and women, said they were raped, beaten or otherwise assaulted on Barrick property when they were caught trespassing.[87] Human Rights Watch said Barrick should have "acted long before Human Rights Watch conducted its research and prompted them into action".[90][91] 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.[92]

Sarah Knuckey,[93] human rights lawyer and Director of the Columbia Law School Human Rights Clinic, described the rapes as “some of the most vicious assaults [she’s] investigated anywhere in the world”. A joint report by Harvard University and Columbia University revealed that Barrick offered the women less than $6,000.00 each. A group of 11 rape survivors rejected Barrick's initial offer and received significantly larger settlements after they obtained legal representation in the United States.[94]

Amnesty International[edit]

In June 2014, Amnesty International reported that Barrick Gold's security guards from the Porgera mine burned more than 200 homes in a raid on June 6, 2014.[61] A police officer involved in the raid said that Barrick had ordered police to burn the houses.[95]


In February 2021, Barrick Gold announced it would sell its Lagunas Norte gold mine in Peru[96]. The mine is sold to Boroo Pte Ltd. for up to US$81 million.


The BBC reported in September 2012 that one person was killed and at least four more were injured at a Barrick mine in the northern Ancash region of Peru in clashes between police and members of a neighboring community who were protesting the mine's alleged over-consumption and contamination of local water sources.[97] Two people were killed and 20 were injured in similar events at the same mine in 2006.

United States[edit]

Cortez Hills[edit]

Through 2009 and into 2010 Barrick Gold's Cortez Hills project was the subject of litigation in Nevada, seeking to block the project.[98] 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.[99] 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.[100] In March 2011 the Bureau of Land Management approved a subsequent study on environmental impacts, allowing the mine to operate as originally proposed.[101]

Western Shoshone[edit]

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.[102] A former tribal chairman of the Duck Valley Shoshone spoke of the company as "a pretty progressive entity."[103] 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.[104][105]

See also[edit]


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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]