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Barrick increasingly seems to be a Chinese tool
Barrick Gold Seeks Chinese Partners, May Slash Headcount, Globe and Mail Says
By Natalie Obiko Pearson
Saturday, September 15, 2018
Barrick Gold Corp. may slash 400 jobs and involve Chinese partners in its troubled Tanzania operations, Executive Chairman John Thornton told the Toronto Globe and Mail newspaper.
The Toronto-based company has slashed middle management by half to about 700 and "we want to get it down to 300," Thornton, who's been in his role since 2014, told the Globe and Mail in an interview in London. The former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. executive wants a leaner, entrepreneurial partnership more like the early days under late founder Peter Munk, the Globe and Mail said.
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Thornton said there's "an almost 100 percent" chance Chinese partners will get involved in Barrick's projects in Tanzania that are operated through its 64 percent stake in Acacia Mining Plc. Acacia has plummeted 84 percent since its high in 2016 amid disputes with the government, which imposed a ban on exports of mineral concentrates last year and slapped the miner with a $190 billion tax bill.
The Acacia mines have never paid income tax to the Tanzanian government, which wants a new deal, Thornton told the Globe. Chinese companies can bring capital, technical expertise and -- above all -- political connections in Africa and Latin America that North American miners can't match, he told the Globe.
"It's one thing to be a Canadian company. It's another to have China as your partner," Thornton told the Globe. "If I know one thing, I know this is right: we have the thinnest talent in the most difficult areas and we can't develop all these projects alone."
Thornton again floated the idea -- raised in a town hall with employees last month -- about forming a copper company with Chinese miners.
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