Several companies have started 2019 not with a whimper, but a bang. Kelsey Rolfe

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Welcome back to your weekly mining news recap, and happy new year! Instead of getting off to a slow, sleepy start to 2019, several mining companies are entering the year with a bang. Guyana Goldfields’ founder has launched a proxy battle for control of the company’s board, the new Barrick Gold is now trading on New York and Toronto stock exchanges, and a few activist groups have requested the B.C. Securities Commission investigate Pan American and Tahoe Resources’ shareholder disclosures.


New year, new Barrick. The merger of Barrick Gold and Randgold is finalized and the new company began trading on the New York and Toronto Stock Exchanges on January 2. On the NYSE, the company is trading under the symbol GOLD (nice), and remains ABX on the TSX. If you can’t get enough of Barrick news, CEO Mark Bristow was making the media rounds this week. He spoke with BNN Bloomberg about why the company needs more Canadian assets, and mused to the Wall Street Journal about a number of “strategic changes” he expects to reveal in February, including a possible sale of Barrick’s only Canadian mine, Hemlo.

Nevsun Resources is also experiencing some new beginnings. The company started 2019 with an entirely new management team and board of directors after its acquisition by Chinese miner Zijin Mining went through on Dec. 29. Nevsun’s seven-member board, and its CEO, Peter Kukielski, CFO Ryan MacWilliam, chief legal officer Joseph Giuffre, chief development officer Scott Trebilcock and vice-president of corporate development Marc Blythe resigned on Dec. 31 to be replaced with Zijin appointees.

Detour Gold’s New Year’s resolution was to fill its vacant CEO position, created after interim CEO Michael Kenyon stepped down in the fallout of Paulson & Co.’s successful push for an overhaul of the mining company’s board. Paulson-backed Bill Williams has stepped in to helm Detour as its interim CEO.

On Wednesday, Guyana Goldfields founder Patrick Sheridan led a small group of shareholders, who collectively own 5.4 per cent of the company’s shares, to launch a proxy battle against the company. The “Concerned Shareholders” plan to nominate a slate of six independent directors to replace Guyana Goldfields’ current board, which they allege has overseen a “period of prolonged value destruction.”

Three activist groups have asked the B.C. Securities Commission to investigate Pan American Silver and Tahoe Resources’ shareholder disclosures about Tahoe’s Escobal mine, arguing that both companies have been “unjustifiably optimistic” about the mine’s reopening and have omitted information about serious opposition to the ongoing consultation process with the Xinca Indigenous people that live nearby. The complaints come days before Pan American shareholders’ Jan. 8 vote to approve the company’s all-share US$1.067-billion acquisition of Tahoe.

What’s the beginning of the new year without some predictions? In early December, EY forecast that license to operate will be the biggest risk facing miners in 2019. It also named digital effectiveness, cybersecurity and mines’ energy mixes among the top 10. We also took a look at five trends that we expect will factor heavily in 2019, including blockchain metals tracing, increasing environmental regulations and supply chain transparency initiatives.

In the weekend reading department, check out this thoughtful Q&A with Queen’s University mining engineering professor Anne Johnson, who discusses the value of teaching “intercultural competence” to young engineers.

As well, the cover story from our December/January issue is now online. Global exploration spending is increasing, but Canada’s share of the spending pie has declined over the past decade. What can the country do to reassure investors and coax more of that money to the Great White North? The people we spoke with have some suggestions.

Here at CIM Magazine, our new year’s resolution is to keep telling stories that help you understand your industry and where it’s headed. This year we’ll be considering the mining workforce of the future with our Future Prospects series. Stay tuned for stories on the strategies and skills students and new grads will need to build themselves a career in the digital mining industry.