Barrick needs to reassure investors after Veladero mine mishaps – by Nicole Mordant and Susan Taylor (Reuters U.S. – April 12, 2017)

http://www.reuters.com/

TORONTO – Barrick Gold must take steps to safeguard investor confidence by ensuring there are no more operating mishaps at its mines after a third incident in 18 months at its big Argentina mine, analysts said.

Argentine regulators told Barrick last week that it must overhaul environmental and operating processes at its Veladero mine, where operations have been partially suspended, after a cyanide solution spill on March 28.

“We are absolutely committed to making Veladero a mine that all of our stakeholders can be proud of and our resolve has not wavered,” Barrick spokesman Andy Lloyd said on Tuesday. Veladero is Argentina’s largest gold mine and Barrick’s third largest contributor to output. Veladero’s income was $220 million in 2016, up 2 percent from 2015. Revenue in 2016 was $685 million, down from $720 million in 2015.

The company, the world’s largest gold producer by output and market value, has historically been a skilled mine operator, said Jefferies analyst Chris LaFemina.

“If you start to develop a track record of operational incidents, the market starts to reflect that in your equity. That’s not Barrick’s reputation in the market yet, but they have to be careful,” LaFemina said.

At a meeting last Thursday, national and provincial officials told Barrick executives that the Canadian company’s ongoing business in the country hinged on a new working plan for the open pit mine, Energy and Mining Minister Juan Jose Aranguren told Reuters in an interview on Friday.

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