Barrick Gold Corp.’s chief says the gold miner has the financial heft it needs to support its loftiest ambitions — and some day those might include a merger with Freeport-McMoRan Inc.
“Barrick, by end of next year, or during next year, will be net debt zero,” Chief Executive Officer Mark Bristow said Thursday in a phone interview. “We’ve definitely got the firepower to build a mine or to support a transaction. We don’t need any external support, for any of our ambitions, as we stand today.”
The world’s second-largest gold miner has been generating more cash flow, with higher bullion prices, even as it has sold assets. By the end of this year net debt will be under $2 billion, Bristow said. “We’re going to settle all the near-term debt, and we’re left with debt that’s only due from 2023 onwards.”
In an interview last month, Bristow said there’s a logic to combining Barrick with Freeport as part of a broader gold strategy.
While it makes sense to start an “intellectual conversation” about a deal with the Phoenix-based copper miner, Barrick spent three years putting together its tie-up with Randgold Resources Ltd. and has no plans to rush into anything, he said Thursday. Any tie-up with Freeport would also have to be friendly.
(By Danielle Bochove)