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Barrick Gold CEO says external support unnecessary for future deals, projects

Barrick Gold Corp. CEO Mark Bristow said the company's finances are strong enough to support the start of a new mine or carry out a transaction without taking any outside help, Bloomberg News reported Dec. 13.

"We're going to settle all the near-term debt, and we're left with debt that's only due from 2023 onwards," Bristow said in an interview.

Meanwhile, the chief executive said that, while it made sense to start an "intellectual conversation" about a potential merger with Freeport-McMoRan Inc., it took three years to put together a tie-up with the former Randgold Resources, and the company has no plans in rushing into anything with the Phoenix, Ariz.-based copper miner.

"There's no way we would do something in a hostile way because there's too much risk in a transaction of that size and nature," Bristow was quoted as saying in the Bloomberg News report.

The Toronto-headquartered miner's long-term strategy is primarily on gold, Bristow said, but he noted the importance of copper if Barrick wants to be a "materially relevant organization focused on gold."

For now, Bristow said there is a higher likelihood of Barrick selling its copper assets instead of acquiring. When asked if a potential sale of the Lumwana copper mine in Zambia is looming, he said the miner "received inbound interest," but it does not need to divest the operation.