The origin of problems according to Barrick GoldBarrick Gold’s Perfect Storm Peter Munk on Resource Nationalism and the Changing Global Paradigm
“Please understand” … pleaded Peter Munk several times to shareholdersgathered in Toronto on April 24th for Barrick’s annual shareholdermeeting (AGM) as he laid out the reasons why Barrick Gold has lost nearly three-fourths of its company value, why projects are being closed due toenvironmental contamination, and why all of a sudden gold, and Barrick Gold stock in particular, doesn’t look so attractive. The speech is a revelation of what really drives the gold miningindustry and one of the most controversial industry leaders in particular.
Munk was clearly referring to Pascua Lama, the multi-billion dollar goldproject on the Argentine-Chilean border that has become a constant headache forBarrick Gold. The project is riddled with environmental problems and unpredictedand escalating costs, and suffered as a result of the collapse of the financingscheme Barrick hoped to build with subsidized public money from EDC (Canada)and EXIM bank (USA). Today, the mine remains closed in Chile for failure tocomply with environmental regulations. Barrick’s legal appeals have had noinfluence on the Chilean authorities.
A year ago today, Munk boasted that the fundamentals were brilliant.Barrick was on the verge of launching two of the most spectacularly unique goldmines, Pascua Lama in Argentina/Chile and Pueblo Viejo in the DominicanRepublic. Both projects would be characterized by exceptional production, longlife, and some of the lowest average operating costs per ounce. This yearthough, Munk was reduced to asking, “What can I say to you? ...The fundamental stoday could not be more different than they were a mere twelve months ago. Our two mines are both in trouble”. (AGM Speech: Minutes 43:00-44:00)
At both Pascua Lama and Pueblo Viejo, Barrick has run into significant problems.Munk attributed this to growing resource nationalism, which he referred to numerous times throughout his speech. He says it’s a global phenomenon and the underlying characteristic of the new mining paradigm.
He posed the following hypothetical situation to the audience: “You’rethe new president of a small Latin American country… You have two choices, keepon taxing the people… or go after that big multinational huge globalcorporation with billions of dollars of assets. … This is totally understandable, it is the essence of this enormously rapidly growing resource nationalism… It is the ultimate threat to the very lifeline of the mining industry, which ultimately will cause an enormous spike in commodity prices. (Minutes46:00 - 47:00)
He pointedto leaders such as Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and Evo Morales of Bolivia … suggesting that “there’s a whole slew of new modern populist leaders that may not follow the rule of law as we expect them to do”. (Minute 48:00)
While never explicitly stated, it was clear that his critiques were no tso much about Chavez and Morales, but rather referred to his frustration with Argentina and Dominican republic
Ironically, the venting and frustration over host government rule-bendingquickly vanished when Munk came to the issue of executive pay. There, Munk pointed to the impressive CV of newCo-Chairman John Thorton, former Goldman Sachs chief, as a justification for awhopping US$11.9 million pay package from the gold giant to have Thorton takeover Barrick, which has dropped in value by nearly 75% since its recent marketpeak.
In his closing comments, Peter Munk reached out to the essence of whatsustains the gold industry. Companies mine, process and sell gold not forsocial or economic development, not for social progress and not for the benefitof the needy or the poor communities in the countries where Barrick Gold isinvested
So, the conclusion of BG speech:
- Dominican president is as radical and keep the same political lines of as Chavez and Morales
- The most important mines of BG are Pascua lama and Pueblo viejo have a populist leader that "dont follow the rules of law"
- BG always follow the rules of law
- BG is not in DR for social progress or the needy poor communities of Cotui.
- BG never mention pollution, smuggling cyanide, fines, etc so all those "rumors" are probably a lie
- Barrick Gold has lost nearly three-fourths of its company value, shareholders are VERY scare
- It's ok to pay somebody a bonus of $11.9 millions made from dominican gold , but not a single dime yet to dominican people
These are the personal words of BG president Peter Munk in the last shareholder meeting..
Personally I am speechless ..
You make your own conclusions..