Barrick Gold's Bristow commits to Toronto, calls HQ debate 'hysteria'

|About: Barrick Gold Corporation (GOLD)|By:, SA News Editor

New Barrick Gold (GOLD -0.9%) CEO Mark Bristow tells Bloomberg he is surprised by the "hysteria" over whether the miner will remain a Canadian company and says he is determined to maintain headquarters in Toronto.

Bristow’s comments follow critical remarks by industry veteran Pierre Lassonde, who said Barrick’s reduced presence in Canada amounts to the kind of hollowing out of the country’s mining sector - Bristow, CFO Graham Shuttlesworth and Executive Chairman John Thornton are no longer based in Canada - that Barrick’s late founder Peter Munk opposed.

Bristow says Barrick’s head of strategy, Kevin Thomson, will be based in Toronto as will its other departments such as treasury, human resources and finance, but other executives will be in constant motion and Toronto staff will be expected to travel to deal with problems rather than hauling mine-site employees back to the head office.

The CEO also says he plans to push ahead with plans to increase investment in the mineral-rich but environmentally tricky deposits straddling the Chile-Argentina border, including the El Indio copper and gold belt, adding that Barrick's partnerships with Chinese and Chilean miners remain key to its strategy in the region.

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