Toronto, Canada — MININGREVIEW.COM — 19 January 2009 – Aaron Regent, the new CEO of Barrick Gold Corporation – the biggest gold mining company in the world – has assumed duty as the company plans to dig seven new mines amid a recession that has forced some rivals to cut costs.
Bloomberg News reports that Regent has joined Barrick as the worst economic slowdown since the Great Depression forces mining companies to conserve cash. The crisis helped drive gold to its eighth straight annual gain in 2008, prompting Barrick to press ahead with projects in Tanzania, the Dominican Republic, Argentina, and Alaska to add to its 27 existing mines.
Regent says he will continue Barrick’s strategy of being a mining company focused on gold.
First, he will travel “extensively” to the company’s mines and projects to view its assets and meet staff. He adds that his initial concentration will be on ensuring cost and production targets are met, and that capital is spent appropriately.
Regent’s appointment is the most recent management change for the world’s five largest gold producers in the past 18 months, Bloomberg points out. Newmont Mining Corp.’s Richard O’Brien, appointed in July 2007, is now the group’s longest-serving CEO. And AngloGold Ashanti Ltd., Gold Fields Ltd. and Goldcorp Inc. have all named new chiefs since then.
Regent joins a company that has made several acquisitions in recent years. Under Greg Wilkins, the purchase of Placer Dome Inc. in 2006 vaulted Barrick into first place among the world’s gold producers, ahead of Denver-based Newmont. Since then, the company has bought Arizona Star Resources Corp. and Cadence Energy Inc., as well as the Kainantu gold mine in Papua New Guinea and a stake in the Cortez mine in Nevada from Rio Tinto Plc.
“Barrick’s mergers and acquisitions team have a lot of things they’re looking at,” Regent says. “That’s an area I have a lot of experience in, so it’s not a steep curve for me to get along.”