Barrick testing the waters for a First Quantum takeover

Barrick Gold CEO Mark Bristow has spoken with some of First Quantum Minerals’ major investors to gauge their support for a potential takeover as the gold giant seeks to become a major copper producer, reported Bloomberg.

Canadian-based First Quantum has been left vulnerable after Panama ordered the closure of its new Cobre Panama mine last month, wiping out more than half of the company’s market value. Bloomberg’s sources said it wasn’t immediately clear if Barrick will make a formal offer for the smaller miner, but a deal would transform Barrick into one of the world’s biggest producers. 

First Quantum’s largest shareholder is the Capital Group with a 22% stake, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. China’s Jiangxi Copper Co. owns 18%, and is among those that have been approached by Barrick.

Barrick previously made an informal takeover approach to First Quantum that was rebuffed in June. It is currently building the Reko Diq copper-gold mine in Pakistan, and aiming for a 2028 production start. 

In addition to Cobre Panama, First Quantum operates the Kansanshi copper-gold and Sentinel copper mines in Zambia, Las Cruces copper mine in Spain, Çayeli copper-zinc underground mine in Turkey, Guelb Moghrein copper-gold operation in Mauritania, Ravensthorpe nickel operation in Western Australia, and the Pyhäsalmi copper-zinc-pyrite underground mine in Finland. 

Source: Bloomberg

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