Bristow urged to find JV middle ground with Newmont’s Goldberg

Mark Bristow, CEO, Barrick Gold

VAN Eck International Investors Gold Fund, Barrick Gold’s top shareholder, has urged the gold company to hash out a joint venture deal with Newmont Mining over sharing their Nevada-based assets before considering a full-blown merger, a proposed $18bn transaction that has been rejected by Newmont.

Speaking to Reuters, the fund’s Joe Foster said: “I don’t flat out oppose a merger. If a merger is the only way to unify Nevada then maybe, just maybe, that’s something we might consider. But as it stands the best path right now is to form a JV in Nevada”. Mark Bristow, CEO of Barrick Gold and his counterpart at Newmont Mining, Gary Goldberg, were said by Reuters to have met on March 5 to discuss a JV.

Foster told Reuters that even though Bristow and Goldberg were not in agreement on the terms of a cooperation on the Nevada assets, it was necessary to find a middle ground in the interests of their respective shareholders.

“These companies pay these guys a lot of money. They need to find a place in the middle where they can come together and create value for shareholders,” said Foster. Foster said a merger might, in the end, be the only option but it would create a “monstrous” gold company.

“Creating a JV seems a lot simpler than mashing these two huge companies together,” he added.