🔒 Mark Bristow unveils plans to boost Barrick – fast! The Wall Street Journal

Barrick Gold Corp.’s chief executive said he is optimistic the company will soon resolve a dispute in Tanzania that has idled most of its mining operations in the country.

“We will find a solution,” CEO Mark Bristow said in an interview Wednesday. “This can’t continue, every stakeholder is hurting.”

Mr. Bristow was speaking on his first day as Barrick’s chief, after its $6 billion all-share merger with Randgold Resources Ltd. , which he served as CEO and helped found in 1995. Randgold’s gold production is focused in Africa, and Mr. Bristow—who was born in South Africa—has experience resolving tax and other disputes with African governments.

Barrick offered in 2017 to pay $300 million and other benefits to the government of Tanzania to settle tax and revenue-sharing disputes, but the two sides have been unable to strike a final agreement. Tanzania has restricted the company’s majority-owned subsidiary Acacia Mining PLC from exporting gold concentrate until the dispute is resolved.

Mr. Bristow declined to discuss details about the negotiations. Two senior Barrick executives met recently in Tanzania with government officials, and the discussion included an offer by the company to pay the $300 million in installments, a person familiar with the matter said.

Mr. Bristow said he expects to unveil in February a number of strategic changes that could include asset sales and new mining investments. He said the company is reviewing the possible sale of its 50% stake in Australia’s Kalgoorlie gold mine, which it jointly owns with Newmont Mining Corp. He added that Barrick also is considering the sale of its 100%-owned Hemlo gold mine in Canada and Lagunas Norte mine in Peru. No decision has been reached, he said.

Hemlo is Barrick’s only Canadian mine, and Mr. Bristow said the company “needs more assets in Canada.” He said the company could reinvest in the Hemlo mine to make it more efficient or acquire other Canadian properties.

Barrick’s head office will change significantly under Mr. Bristow, who favors decentralized leadership. At Randgold, only seven people were employed at its head office in the English Channel island of Jersey. He said he plans to shrink Barrick’s head-office staff to about 60 people, from nearly 200 last year.

Write to Jacquie McNish at [email protected]