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Barrick Gold’s decision to double down on Africa is a bet on Randgold Resources boss Mark Bristow keeping his Midas touch on a continent where many miners have floundered. That wager is facing its first test.
Among the assets Barrick will acquire in the $5.4bn deal for Randgold is Kibali, a mine Bristow built from scratch in the Democratic Republic of Congo. While that operation has been a crowning achievement for Randgold, it is set to challenge Bristow’s trouble-shooting skills even before he takes over as CEO of the enlarged company.
Sokimo, Randgold’s state-owned partner in Kibali, has protested that it was not informed of the deal in advance and said it would “assert its rights”.
Barrick will not be the first company to be squeezed by an increasingly assertive government in Kinshasa, DRC’s capital. Mining giant Glencore paid $150m earlier in 2018 to settle a dispute with state-owned Gecamines, which used identical resource-nationalist language as Sokimo when objecting to Freepo...
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