November 2, 2023, | 10:10AM-Barrick Gold’s CEO on Thursday expressed a desire to grow the company’s copper business organically when asked about interest in buying fellow Canadian miner First Quantum Minerals after its shares lost nearly half their value earlier this week.
First Quantum’s stock plunged in the three trading days of this week after the Panama government said it will hold a referendum to decide whether to revoke the miner’s contract to operate one of the biggest and the newest copper mines in the world. The stock rose about 8.1% on Thursday.
“At this point of time, I think we’ve got a lot on our plate and they (First Quantum) are dealing with a difficult situation, so we will focus on our strategy,” CEO Mark Bristow told Reuters when asked whether Barrick has interest in acquiring First Quantum.
Bristow added that the company is growing its copper on its own, repeating a similar stance he took in an August interview with Reuters when he dismissed a June media report that Barrick was in talks with First Quantum on a possible acquisition.
Earlier on Thursday, Barrick beat analysts estimates for its quarterly helped by lower cost and high gold prices.
Barrick has been investing in copper as the red metal is poised to play a key role in the transition to a greener economy. But instead of striking deals like its peers, such as BHP Group and Rio Tinto, that have bought copper mines in the past two years, Barrick has focused on investing in its own mines.
“This is a reinforcement of what I stand for in Barrick… For me, M&A is an ad hoc opportunity to create value. It shouldn’t be the core to anyone’s strategy,” he added.
When asked if Barrick has offered advise to First Quantum on the Panama situation, Bristow said, “It’s a tough time for any company and I don’t want to put my finger in this soup.”