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Barrick Gold CEO denies seeking Freeport McMoran tie-up

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Barrick Gold (GOLD +1.1%) is not seeking a merger with Freeport McMoran (FCX -1%) but is interested in the company’s Grasberg copper mine in Indonesia, CEO Mark Bristow tells Reuters.

Rumors of a plan to combine with Freeport are “completely wrong,” Bristow says, but Grasberg – the world’s largest gold mine and second largest copper mine – is “a tier 1 asset,” and Barrick wants to boost its copper business to capitalize on a projected increase in demand because of the rising popularity of electric vehicles.

“If you’re going to be a world-class gold miner, you’re going to have to accept copper,” the CEO says. “In 10 years’ time, the most strategic metal on this planet is copper, if you believe the EV story, and I do.”

Bristow cautions that he is far from finding a deal that would work, and Freeport could bring legacy risks: “Freeport is a very old company and it has bought lots of very old companies so there’s risk, rehabilitation liabilities… also you would never want to go in a place like Indonesia without proper due diligence.”

Source: M A News on Seeking Alpha