BARRICK Gold was the victim of fake news on Thursday that said it had sold its Lumwana copper mine in Zambia for $895m in cash.
Zambia’s National Pension Scheme Authority (NAPSA), one of the parties in the false news reported to have bought Lumwana from Barrick, issued a statement saying it had not entered into any discussions.
“We would like to urge members of the public to ignore the said press release and treat it with the contempt it deserves,” the acting director general wrote, adding that the pension fund would seek to ensure the perpetrators were prosecuted.
The report said that NAPSA had been joined in its offer to buy Lumwana by Metalinvest Capital Corporation. Metalinvest has no knowledge of the deal and is launching its own investigation, founder and director Mohamed Matongo said in an e-mail to Reuters.
“It has come as a great surprise to me that my company name is being mentioned in a transaction that we have no knowledge about,” he said.
Barrick was last year seeking buyers for its Lumwana copper mine, but in February the firm’s CEO, Mark Bristow, told Reuters he would not necessarily sell it, and might instead look for a partner in Zambia or a deal with a copper processor.