September 28, 2018 / 3:32 PM / a year ago

Randgold says Barrick Gold deal will have no impact on Congo's Kibali mine

DAKAR (Reuters) - Randgold Resources Ltd said on Friday that its proposed takeover by Canada’s Barrick Gold would not introduce a new partner in Congo’s Kibali project, as suggested by state miner Sokimo.

FILE PHOTO: Randgold Resources CEO Mark Bristow speaks during a news conference at Tongon Gold Mine in the Korhogo region, Ivory Coast, April 24, 2016. REUTERS/Thierry Gouegnon/File Photo

Sokimo said earlier that it would “assert its rights” in Barrick Gold’s acquisition of Randgold’s stake in the Kibali mine in Democratic Republic of Congo, under a takeover deal, but did not clarify its plans.

“There are no provisions in the joint venture agreement and the related documentation which give Sokimo any rights resulting from the proposed merger,” Randgold said.

Barrick agreed to buy Randgold this week in a deal to create the world’s largest gold company with an aggregate market valuation of $18.3 billion.

Randgold, has been locked in a bitter dispute with the Congolese authorities this year over a new mining code, said that the proposed merger would not have any effect on Kibali.

The company said it had consulted with Sokimo, the minister of mines and other parties, in the days following the merger announcement.

Shares of Randgold were up 3.8 percent at 5,458 pence at 1411 GMT, topping the UK bluechip index.

Randgold has a stake in several projects in the Democratic Republic of Congo, including the Kibali mine, a joint venture with AngloGold Ashanti and Sokimo. The project, one of Africa’s biggest gold mines, is 45 percent owned by Randgold, 45 percent by AngloGold and 10 percent by Sokimo.

“Sokimo ... will assert its rights,” the company had said in a statement earlier on Friday. It said the transaction represented an effort by the foreign companies “to impose themselves, without any prior discussion, in the countries from which the resources that make up their wealth are extracted.”

The same language about asserting rights was used by Congo’s other state miner, Gecamines, against Freeport, when in 2016 it announced the sale of its stake in the Tenke copper mine to China Molybdenum. Gecamines received $100 million in a settlement.

Reporting by Tim Cocks in Dakar and Justin George Varghese in Bengaluru; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Alexander Smith

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