Barrick upbeat about new DRC president’s stance on mining, investment

Kibali, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Image: Randgold Resources (Barrick Gold)

Barrick Gold’s (TSX:ABX) (NYSE:GOLD) executive chairman, John Thornton, said Wednesday he was encouraged by the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) newly elected president Felix Tshisekedi’s vision of attracting foreign investment and supporting the development of the country’s mining industry.

The Canadian miner, which operates the country’s Kibali mine, one of the world’s ten largest gold mines, said Tshisekedi had confirmed his intention of working with mining companies to keep expanding the nation’s gold sector.

President Felix Tshisekedi did not refer to the new mining code introduced by the previous government, which raised royalties and added taxes

“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,” Thornton said following Tshisekedi’s speech at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

His comments come amid investor concerns regarding a new mining code introduced by the previous government, which raised royalties, added taxes and cancelled a clause that would have protected them against fiscal changes for 10 years.

Tshisekedi’s view on the new rules has been unclear. In early March, he showed support for them, but following meetings with both Glencore and Barrick’s executives, he said he would be “attentive” to the grievances of miners and called for “win-win” applications of the mining code.

Barrick and AngloGold Ashanti  (JSE:ANG) (NYSE:AU) are some of the DRC’s top investors.

The country is the world’s main supplier of battery ingredient cobalt and a key source of minerals from gold and copper to tantalum. Its public revenues from the mining sector nearly doubled in 2018, Reuters reported. 

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