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Canada’s Barrick Gold fights to become heavy weight in copper production

Tuesday, April 26th 2011 - 02:50 UTC
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Barrick Chief Executive Aaron Regent: “wait and see” Barrick Chief Executive Aaron Regent: “wait and see”

Canada's Barrick Gold Corp said on Tuesday it would take a “wait and see” approach if a higher bid emerges for its offer to pay 7.3 billion Canadian dollars for Equinox Minerals.

Barrick on Monday made a bid for Equinox, pitting the world's largest gold miner against China's Minmetals Resources in a battle for copper assets. Barrick offered to buy Equinox for C$8.15 a share, an 8.7% premium over its Thursday closing price. The all-cash bid is 16% higher than the C$6.3 billion offer made by Minmetals earlier this month.

“We put what we think is a fair offer on the table,” said Barrick Chief Executive Aaron Regent. When asked what Barrick would do if a higher bid emerged, Regent said the company would “wait and see.”

He said Barrick would use about half of the 4 billion Canadian dollars in cash they have on their balance sheet to fund the deal.

Equinox, a global miner listed in Canada and Australia, owns the Lumwana mine in Africa's rich Zambian copper belt and most of the Jabal Sayid project in Saudi Arabia

Equinox has agreed not to seek any other bids and to give Barrick the right to match any other solicited bids received. It also agreed to pay Barrick a 250m Canadian dollar fine if it withdraws from the takeover.

“The acquisition of Equinox would add a high-quality, long-life asset to our portfolio and is consistent with our strategy of increasing gold and copper reserves through exploration and acquisitions,” said the Canadian gold producer's chief executive Aaron Regent in a statement on the website.

“Combined with our Zaldivar mine and Cerro Casale project in Chile, this acquisition would position Barrick with significant production growth potential in two of the most prolific copper-producing regions of the world.”
 

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