Bristow outlines Barrick focus on growth via exploration, not dealmaking

Barrick Gold Corp is set to pour funds into exploration projects around the world, in a new strategy revealed by its prolific dealmaking CEO Mark Bristow at the MINExpo conference in Las Vegas.

Barrick swelled into the world’s second largest gold producer following the US$18 billion acquisition of Randgold Resources in 2019 and has been on the hunt for similar-sized mergers ever since, in line with Bristow’s call for industry consolidation to avert a ‘serious reserve crisis’.

However, the firm will now focus on achieving growth via gold and copper exploration projects in Egypt, Nevada, Guyana and other global mining jurisdictions.

“The very foundation of our future has to be our geologists and where we are investing,” Bristow told Reuters on the sidelines of the quadrennial gathering of industry executives and suppliers. “Organic growth is always a winner when it comes to value.”

Bristow and his management team are grappling with a lagging share price compared to the world’s number one gold firm Newmont Corp, but the chief executive said that by funding exploration, rather than striking deals, Barrick’s costs should drop over time, boosting revenue.

“We’ve got to balance the short-term-ism that fund managers want … with the fact that we are investing capital for the long term,” he said. “You’ve got to be patient.”