Fri, Apr. 24, 6:50 PM
- In another day of broad losses among in precious metals miners, Newmont Mining (NYSE:NEM) enjoyed a 6.5% surge following strong Q1 results that included impressive cost reductions in gold and copper production.
- J.P. Morgan analysts especially liked the strong first quarter at Batu Hijau and Yanacocha and the deferral of some capex that allowed NEM to generate $344M in free cash flows and pay down $200M in debt; the firm says full-year guidance could be raised if cost reductions can be maintained in Q2.
- Otherwise, it was not a good day for mining equities, following another drop in gold futures which tumbled to their lowest level in more than a month.
- NEM CEO Gary Goldberg expects gold prices to gain ~25% to $1,500/oz. by 2020 on rising demand from China and a weaker dollar; for now, Goldberg says the strong U.S. dollar is “definitely having an adverse effect” on gold prices, and he expects the dollar will “eventually come back off of its highs in the next couple of years."
- In today's trade: ABX -0.9%, AU -4.2%, GG -2.6%, SBGL -7.7%, GOLD -2%, AUY -2.5%, NGD -1.9%, GFI -4.4%, SLW -1%, PAAS -1.6%, EGO -4.1%, RGLD -2.7%, FNV -2.1%, KGC -0.4%, IAG -1.4%, BTG -1.9%, HL -1.9%, AGI -1.6%, AUQ -3.1%.
Fri, Apr. 24, 10:22 AM
- Canada’s largest pension fund says it will vote against Barrick Gold’s (ABX -1.3%) executive pay structure and withhold its vote for the miner’s lead director and chairman of its compensation committee.
- The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board joins other investors in coming out against the advisory vote on ABX's executive compensation at next week's annual shareholder meeting; however, it also says it will vote in favor of other 12 ABX board nominees, including Chairman John Thornton, whose 36% pay rise last year has drawn much criticism given ABX’s weak stock performance.
- While CPPIB owns less than 1% of ABX shares, it is an influential voice in Canadian markets given its size and the emphasis it places on good corporate governance.
Thu, Apr. 23, 2:58 PM
- Barrick Gold (ABX +2.8%) says it will resume operations at its Lumwana copper mine in Zambia, reversing an earlier decision to halt production after the government softened a royalty-based tax system.
- Pres. Lungu’s administration recently approved a 30% profit tax and 9% royalty due to start July 1 - higher than the 6% sales levy of last year but better than royalties of 8% for underground mines and 20% for open-pit operations the government began charging in January.
- Separately, Chile's environmental regulator says he will seek new sanctions against ABX's Pascua-Lama gold and silver project for non-compliance with certain obligations; the regulator already fined ABX $16M in 2013 for not complying with environmental requirements at Pascua-Lama, which was put on hold indefinitely later that year.
Wed, Apr. 22, 6:36 PM
- Gold tumbled today to its sharpest single session loss in more than six weeks, after the strong U.S. existing home sales report that raised expectations for a Fed interest rate hike in June.
- U.S. gold futures for June delivery fell $16.20 (-1.4%) to settle at $1,186.90/oz., while silver fell 1.3% to $15.77.
- Among precious metals miners today: ABX -3.4%, AU -4%, GG -2.8%, SBGL -6.8%, GOLD -1.5%, AUY -3.7%, NG -1.9%, GFI -5%, SLW -2.1%, PAAS -3.5%, NEM -3.1%, EGO -1.4%, RGLD -2.1%, FNV -3.4%, KGC -1.7%, IAG -4.1%, BTG -2.5%, HL -3.8%, AGI -5.4%, AUQ -4.4%.
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Tue, Apr. 21, 11:58 AM
- Barrick Gold (ABX -1.1%) is being advised on options for its Zaldivar copper mine in Chile by the boutique firm of mining rainmaker Michael Klein, in a deal potentially worth as much as $2B, Reuters reports.
- ABX reportedly already has contacted a limited group of buyers including some diversified Chinese miners and copper companies; options could include a full sale of the Zaldivar mine, but ABX would be more likely to retain a stake in the mine that produced 222M lbs. of copper in 2014 and has reserves of a further 5.56B lbs.
- Zaldivar is next to Escondida, the world's largest copper mine, which is jointly owned by Rio Tinto (RIO -1.7%) and BHP Billiton (BHP -0.9%); Zaldivar could be of interest to both companies, as well as P-E firms such as the mining arm of Warburg Pincus and Mick Davis' X2, according to the report.
Mon, Apr. 20, 1:23 PM
- Hecla Mining (NYSE:HL) and Australia's Newcrest Mining (OTCPK:NCMGF, OTCPK:NCMGY) reportedly are among the bidders for Barrick Gold's (ABX -0.3%) Australian Cowal mine, which is on the block as ABX continues to shrink its global footprint.
- Gold Fields (NYSE:GFI) and Evolution Mining (OTCPK:CAHPF) also are said to be among other companies to have made it through to a second round of bidding for Cowal.
- ABX in February started a process to sell the mine, as well as a joint venture in Papua New Guinea; Cowal could be worth as much as $700M after the open-pit mine produced 268K oz. of gold last year.
Fri, Apr. 17, 12:59 PM
- Three of the world's largest pension funds - Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, British Columbia Investment Management, and the Netherlands’ PGGM Vermogensbeheer - say they will vote against the re-election of Barrick Gold’s (ABX +1.8%) board, citing poor corporate performance and excessive compensation.
- The pension funds' stand is a slap against ABX Executive Chairman John Thornton, whose $13M pay package for 2014 has been widely criticized by investors.
- None of the three pension funds are among ABX’s biggest investors, and some other shareholders have expressed support for the board, but complaints from the funds may act as a rallying call for protesters.
Wed, Apr. 15, 8:24 AM
- Barrick Gold (NYSE:ABX) says it welcomes the decision by Zambia's government to set its mining royalties at 9% for both open-pit and underground mines, but that it will review the details before reconsidering plans to shutter its Lumwana copper mine.
- Zambia's January decision to increase royalties for open pit mines to 20% from 6% and those for underground mines to 8% from 6% had rattled unions, miners and investors, forcing the government to review the plan; companies such as Glencore (OTCPK:GLCNF, OTCPK:GLNCY) and First Quantum Minerals (OTCPK:FQVLF) stopped expansion plans worth $1.5B.
- The new 9% rate still would be considered on the high end compared to other mining jurisdictions, but it might make more mines viable.
Fri, Apr. 10, 12:43 PM
- Another proxy advisory firm is telling Barrick Gold (ABX +1.7%) shareholders to vote against Chairman John Thornton’s $13M 2014 pay package.
- ISS, North America's biggest proxy advisory firm, says Thornton’s 36% pay rise was unwarranted in a year when ABX’s share price share price lost over a third of its value and underperformed its peers.
- Advisory firm Glass Lewis also has recommended against ABX’s "excessive" executive compensation.
- Thornton’s pay is larger than that of his peers: Last year, Newmont Mining (NEM +0.8%), the world’s second largest gold miner behind ABX based on production, paid its non-executive chairman, Vincent Calarco, $572K.
Thu, Apr. 9, 6:19 PM
- Proxy advisory firm Glass Lewis recommends that Barrick Gold (NYSE:ABX) shareholders vote against the miner's executive compensation plan, citing concerns over the pay of Executive Chairman John Thornton.
- ABX introduced a new compensation program last year after shareholder complaints in 2013, but Thornton still was paid $12.9M in 2014, roughly one-third more than in the previous year.
- ABX will consider an advisory resolution on executive compensation at its annual meeting in Toronto on April 28; while non-binding, such "say on pay" votes can send a message of shareholder discontent to companies.
Mon, Apr. 6, 3:38 PM
- Barrick Gold (ABX +6%) said on Friday it has settled 11 claims related to atrocities committed against women over the last two decades at its Porgera gold mine in Papua New Guinea.
- The settlement brings to a close all outstanding claims made by women who allegedly were beaten, raped and threatened by the miner's security personnel and employees.
- Earlier this year, ABX announced plans to sell Porgera - which produced more than 500K oz. of gold in 2014 - and its Cowal gold mine in Australia in an attempt to cut its debt levels.
Mon, Apr. 6, 10:21 AM
- Goldcorp (GG +3.3%) agrees to sell its 40% stake in the South Arturo mine project in Nevada to Premier Gold Mines (OTCPK:PIRGF).
- Barrick Gold (NYSE:ABX) is 60% owner and operator of the project and has right of first refusal.
- Premier agrees to pay GG $20M at closing and to transfer 5% of its interest in the Rahill-Bonznsa joint venture in Red Lake, Ontario, where GG has one of its major mines; in turn, GG has agreed to invest $12.5M in Premier.
Mon, Apr. 6, 9:55 AM
- Barrick Gold (ABX +3.5%) is open to asset sales and joint ventures as it tries to cut $3B from its $10B-plus debt and rebuild its reputation with investors, John Thornton tells Financial Times in his first interview since taking over as Chairman nearly a year ago.
- Thornton says he can imagine ABX ceding operational control of some assets, for example to Mick Davis, the former Xstrata CEO who plans to re-enter the mining sector at the head of a P-E firm.
- Sales of two gold mines, Cowal in Australia and Porgera in Papua New Guinea, are well advanced, Thornton says, although those sales would only meet part of the $3B target; however, there are no plans to try to revive a merger with Newmont Mining (NEM +1.5%) after talked failed a year ago.
Wed, Apr. 1, 6:54 PM
- Barrick Gold (NYSE:ABX) loses its bid to dismiss a U.S. lawsuit that accuses it of concealing environmental problems at the Pascua-Lama mine on the border of Argentina and Chile and of fraudulently inflating the company's market value by billions of dollars.
- The U.S. district judge in Manhattan ruled today that shareholders can pursue class action claims against ABX but dismissed claims alleging the miner intentionally misled them about costs and production delays.
- Cost overruns, environmental issues, labor unrest, political opposition and falling gold prices contributed to ABX's decision in October 2013 to halt the project, after it had already spent $5B-plus; the investors are suing for losses covering the period from May 7, 2009, when ABX said it would begin construction on Pascua-Lama, through Nov. 1, 2013.
Sun, Mar. 29, 4:45 AM
- Barrick Gold (NYSE:ABX) Chairman John Thornton received almost $13M in total compensation last year, up from $9.5M in 2013, raising more questions of executive pay at the world's largest gold miner.
- In yet another challenging year, Barrick's shares dropped around 35% last year, amid continued weakness in bullion prices and major write downs on the value of its assets.
- Thornton's compensation was also greater than the $7.3M and $4.5M awarded respectively to the company's joint chief executive officers, Jim Gowans and Kelvin Dushnisky.
Fri, Mar. 27, 2:15 PM
- Barrick Gold (ABX +1.4%) says it will continue to operate its Lumwana copper mine in Zambia while awaiting changes to the country's mineral royalty tax.
- ABX had said it would suspend operations and make major staff cuts after Zambia hiked mineral royalties for open pit mines to 20% from 6% raised the royalty tax rate on underground mines to 8% from 6%.
- Zambia's President Lungu this week directed the finance and mining ministers to change royalties on mining firms by April 8, saying the government could consider temporarily reverting to the 2014 tax regime while a new rate is negotiated.
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