Barrick Gold’s Bristow considering growth in “strategic, modern” metal, copper

Mark Bristow, CEO, Barrick Gold

BARRICK Gold is on the lookout for growth in the copper industry either through exploration or acquisitions, said the Financial Times citing the Canadian gold firm’s CEO, Mark Bristow.

“Where we have opportunities to secure or expand our copper footprint, we will,” said Bristow in an interview with the newspaper. The company was already assessing potential deals in South America.

Bristow told Miningmx on November 6 that he was considering new business opportunities in Zambia where the company operated the Lumwana mine. “We have talked to the government that we would help accommodate a rationalisation of the industry to achieve this,” he said of the potential for industry consolidation.

“Zambia needs a complete re-arrangement,” he said. These comments run contrary to previous reports that Bristow wanted to divest from Lumwana. “There will be no fire sale,” he said last week.

He told the Financial Times that copper was “… more strategic than cobalt, more strategic than lithium. You can’t replace copper on conductivity. It is a modern metal”.

The newspaper said that the added attraction of copper for Barrick was that it is often mined alongside gold in the Americas and shares common processing techniques. Said Bristow: “It’s processing characteristics are identical to gold”.

“You can leach it, you can concentrate it, you can smelt it. It is a very uncomplicated process. It’s the same as gold and it comes with gold,” he said.