Barrick Gold Corporation (USA) (NYSE:ABX) has been facing quite a bit of problems recently. It was announced this month that the company would be facing a lawsuit with respect to a mothballed mine. In addition to this, there has been a reduction of royalties by the new government in Zamibia, where Barrick Gold operates an open pit copper mine. Furthermore, the company had motioned a new executive compensation proposal, to be voted on by the investors. Analysts have started advising shareholders against this motion.
Barrick Gold had been sued on charges of concealing problems associated with a troublesome South American mine. The US district judge, Shira Scheindlin, passed the ruling stating that shareholder can pursue class action claims. The grounds for these claims would be deception about environmental problems afflicting its project on the Argentinean and Chilean border. She also stated that even though the plaintiffs had not alleged a motive, they have strong circumstantial evidence of recklessness.
No sooner has the company begun to deal with this problem, that Zambia announced the set royalty tax for open pit and underground mining at 9%. This was coupled with corporate income tax at 30% and mineral processing tax at 35%. The Zambian government had previously planned to increase royalties from 6% to 20%, but after tough resistance from miners made the government review the decision. Barrick Gold has, however, stated that it would continue its operations in the continents second largest copper producer. The announcement was made by Barrick Co-President, Kelvin Dushinsky.
Barrick Gold, whilst dealing with these issues, had announced a shareholder meeting to vote on a new resolution of executive compensation. The move has triggered a sense of discontent amongst shareholders, who believe that last year’s compensations were already too high. Analysts have also pointed out that the management at Barrick Gold has been significantly better taken care of than the shareholders. Some analysts have even advised the shareholders to boycott the meeting.
Barrick Gold Corporation (USA) (NYSE:ABX) closed at $13.51 after gaining 1.58% on April 29. The company has 1.16 billion shares being traded in the market, with a 52-week range of $10.04-$19.49.