Monday, April 25, 2011

Barrick shall not live by gold alone

The largest gold mining compan in the world, Barrick Gold, has suddenly taken a shine to copper. Here are some relevant quotes:

"Mr Munk said Barrick was not trying to become a diversified miner like Rio Tinto or BHP Billiton, saying copper is the only non-gold metal where it desires significant expansion.

Minmetals, the Chinese state-owned miner, was among the multinationals targeting copper assets.

Barrick has gatecrashed Minmetals’ bid for Equinox with its C$7.3bn agreed deal. The competition for Equinox – whose value is based around a single mine in Zambia – is one sign that the metal is taking on an aura traditionally reserved for gold.
For a company long concerned with protecting its image as a pure-play gold miner, doing an (almost) unapologetically copper-driven deal is a big admission about the relative futures of the two metals.

Barrick could have put that money to work buying a gold deposit and adding to gold production per share, but instead it’s going for copper. It’s a big statement on which metal has more opportunity right now.

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