Big hopes for gi­ant merger

The pro­posed amal­ga­ma­tion of Bar­rick and Rand­gold will bring to­gether five of the world’s top 10 ‘tier one’ gold as­sets

Financial Mail - - MONEY& INVESTING - Lisa Steyn steynl@busi­

SA’S fal­ter­ing her­itage of be­ing a gold-pro­duc­ing cham­pion has been brought into sharp fo­cus by the pro­posed $18.3bn merger of Bar­rick Gold and Rand­gold Re­sources.

Once, SA was home to the largest gold min­ing op­er­a­tion in the world; now it’s a shadow of its former self due to ris­ing costs and pol­icy un­cer­tainty. But the good news is that if the merger is ap­proved, it will cre­ate the world’s big­gest gold pro­ducer, and it’ll be South Africans run­ning the show. This is some com­fort for a lo­cal gold in­dus­try in which there has been lit­tle in­vest­ment: no new gold shafts have been sunk in over 20 years, and shaft clo­sures are a reg­u­lar oc­cur­rence.

John Thorn­ton, ex­ec­u­tive chair­man of Bar­rick, which is listed in Canada, will con­tinue to hold this po­si­tion at the merged en­tity, while Sa-born Rand­gold CEO Mark Bris­tow will be­come pres­i­dent and CEO. Rand­gold CFO Gra­ham Shuttleworth, also Sa-born, will be­come the new Bar­rick CFO.

Rand­gold op­er­ates in African mar­kets such as Mali and Ivory Coast.

Bris­tow in par­tic­u­lar is spo­ken of by in­vest­ment an­a­lysts as if he him­self were

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