Barrick’s Thornton heartened by DRC president Tshisekedi’s call for investment

John Thornton, executive chairman, Barrick Gold

BARRICK Gold was “encouraged” by Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) president, Felix Tshisekedi’s speech during a state visit to the United States in which he called for further investment in the central African country.

“As the value leader in the global gold sector, Barrick offers the DRC peerless exploration, technical and financial support,” said John Thornton, executive chairman of the Canadian gold miner which operates Kibali gold mine in the DRC jointly with AngloGold Ashanti.

“We look forward to continue making a significant and growing contribution to the DRC’s economy and to unlocking the enormous value of its mineral potential,” said Thornton. His comments come amid investor concerns regarding the DRC’s mining code, a re-write of which was promulgated last year whilst the country was under Joseph Kabila’s leadership.

Tshisekedi has been ambiguous on the mining code previously. Following meetings with Ivan Glasenberg, CEO of Glencore and Mark Bristow, CEO of Barrick Gold, Tshisekedi said in March he would be “attentive” to the grievances of mining companies and called for ‘win-win’ applications of the mining code.

However, he provided no evidence that the content of the Mining Code would be altered which has hiked royalties on minerals mined from the DRC.

In a speech to the US Chamber of Commerce, Tshisekedi said that while the DRC was potentially the wealthiest country on earth in terms of natural resources, it remained one of its poorest. It was his administration’s key priorities to effect economic and financial reforms and development with help of the international community, especially the US.