June 26, 2019 / 12:35 PM / 6 months ago

Barrick stands firm, saying Acacia's mine plans need changes

FILE PHOTO: Trucks operate at Barrick Gold Corp's Veladero gold mine in Argentina's San Juan province, April 26, 2017. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci/File Photo

(Reuters) - Barrick Gold Corp on Wednesday stuck to its offer to buy out Acacia Mining, saying assumptions made by the smaller firm about its mine plans were out of touch and changes were indeed needed.

Acacia said majority shareholder Barrick’s proposal undervalued its mine plans and appears to have ignored the value of its exploration and development assets.

Barrick, the world’s second largest gold miner, had valued Acacia’s assets at $1.3 billion in its 2018 annual report but said last week that following a review it concluded some of Acacia’s assumptions about its assets were not supportable.

Barrick fired back on Wednesday that Acacia had not raised any points that it was not already aware of.

Barrick’s proposal to take full control of Acacia to resolve a long-standing tax dispute with Tanzania has drawn the ire of Acacia’s minority shareholders, who may have the ultimate vote on a deal.

Barrick spun off Acacia in 2010, but maintains a 63.9% stake. Its proposal last month followed two years of wrangling over a $190 billion Tanzanian tax bill, which has since been reduced to $300 million.

Acacia disagreed with Barrick’s valuation and said a fair value buyout offer from Barrick would be attractive. Barrick said on Wednesday its proposed offer reflects the fair value of Acacia.

Acacia has said its life of mine plans have been formulated in line with “industry standard methodology”, adding that it hosted Barrick representatives for site visits during the first quarter of 2019 and gave Barrick its draft life of mine plans.

Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva and Bernard Orr

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