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Barrick stands firm against Acacia's rebuttal

Beset Africa-focused gold producer Acacia Mining’s almost 5,000-word rebuttal of claims by its largest shareholder has failed to change Barrick Gold’s stance, the company says.
Barrick stands firm against Acacia's rebuttal Barrick stands firm against Acacia's rebuttal Barrick stands firm against Acacia's rebuttal Barrick stands firm against Acacia's rebuttal Barrick stands firm against Acacia's rebuttal

Acacia Mining has accused Barrick Gold of trying to take advantage of its problems in Tanzania

Barrick, which has launched a no-premium bid to buy-out minority Acacia shareholders that own 36.1% of Acacia, said Wednesday after considering Acacia's statement it had concluded there was no new information it was not already aware of.

"Barrick therefore remains firmly of the view that certain assumptions made by Acacia in relation to its mine plans are not appropriately risked or supportable and that adjustments should be made," Barrick said.

Acacia said it strongly disagreed with Barrick's view of its life-of-mine plans and saw "no reasonable basis" for Barrick's proposed adjustments.

It also said Barrick's takeover proposal seemed to ignore the value of its exploration and development assets, adding Barrick's intervention in negotiations in Tanzania "had the effect of undermining Acacia".

Barrick declined to respond in detail to each point of denial by Acacia, but maintained Acacia's optimisation study for Bulyanhulu "materially" overstated the value of that mine.

Barrick said the study was not compliant with the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM) standards, as it included the Deep West inferred mineral resources inventory on an equal footing to the measured and indicated mineral resources.

Indeed, if Acacia's optimisation study was compliant with the CIM standards, Acacia would not have been able to attribute any economic value to the Deep West inferred resources, as set out in CIM 2014 definitions and standards.

"Inferred resources are based on very limited information, have a materially lower level of confidence than measured and indicated resources, may not prove to be economic when further drilling is completed, and thus cannot be assumed to fully convert to mineral reserves," Barrick said.

Barrick suggested the Deep West inferred resources still required full geological stress modelling and any current mine plans should acknowledge the risk.

Barrick's fair value model of Bulyanhulu has lower grades for the mine than that assumed in the optimisation study.

Acacia has accused Barrick of trying to take advantage of its problems in Tanzania, where all its operations are based.

Acacia argued Barrick's decision to unilaterally solve a tax dispute had served to undermine the company in Tanzania and that it had added further pressure to its share price. Acacia agrees that Barrick buying out its minority shareholders would be an attractive solution, but it takes issue with the valuation of its stock.

Barrick valued Acacia in its buyout proposal on June 18 at about US$787-million, which reflected a premium of 14.4% to Acacia's closing price on May 20. Acacia argued the terms of the proposal implied a 2.9% discount to the closing price of its shares on May 20, being the last day prior to receiving the proposal.

Barrick CEO Mark Bristow has stated the company would not improve its proposal.

Barrick has until July 9 to make a firm offer for Acacia.

Since it was newly reconstituted on New Year's Day, Barrick (NYSE:GOLD) has gained 20% in New York to close at $15.86 on Wednesday, with a market capitalisation of $27.74 billion. It has been trending higher with the more-than-8% bump in the gold price so far in June.

Acacia (LSE:ACA), in contrast is down 6% for the period, closing at 179.4p in London, giving it a market cap of £719.9 million.