Barrick looks to Saudi Arabia, Pakistan for growth – exclusive interview with Mark Bristow

Managing risk while war wages in Europe, inflation stings and recession looms is a long-term task best tackled by improving education and […]
Barrick Gold CEO Mark Bristow at The Future Minerals Forum in Riyadh on Jan. 11. Credit: The Northern Miner

Managing risk while war wages in Europe, inflation stings and recession looms is a long-term task best tackled by improving education and living standards in developing nations, Barrick Gold (TSX: ABX; NYSE: GOLD) chief Mark Bristow says.

“Historically the mining industry has often invested not to make money for its in-country stakeholders and that game is over,” Bristow said in an exclusive interview with The Northern Miner on Wednesday at the Future Minerals Forum in Saudi Arabia. “The critical thing we’ve got to understand as miners is we’re actually managing a national asset — that’s the mine — so stakeholders should benefit.”

Barrick, the world’s largest gold producer after Newmont (TSX: NGT; NYSE: NEM), is promoting a focus on the people around its 16 operations across 13 countries as it develops the US$7-billion Reko Diq project in Pakistan. A push for critical minerals in clean energy may help the environment, but mining can also help transform societies, the Barrick leader says.

The region is not without risk. Separatists in Pakistan’s southwestern Balochistan province have killed Chinese nationals working in the mining industry there and threatened Barrick.

Bristow, speaking on the sidelines of the three-day Future Minerals Forum said Barrick would press ahead in Pakistan, noting the provincial government is a 25% partner in the project. He cited the company’s, and his experience leading South Africa’s Randgold (before Barrick bought it in 2018) as helping parts of the developing world. He compared the situation to how mining investment continues in Mexico despite widespread violence by criminal gangs.

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