Barrick expects $500 million from Kibali to be cleared to leave Congo soon
Barrick Gold Chief Executive Officer Mark Bristow said Barrick’s Kibali gold mining joint venture in Democratic Republic of Congo will be able to get $500 million out of the country very soon.
Reuters reported that Barrick has been in discussions for months with Congo’s government over how to get the money that is the excess left over after Kibali repatriated 60 percent of revenue and paid all its in-country expenses. A resolution was close in January, but then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Bristow said.
Bristow did not give a specific timeline, but said it would “very soon” following intensive discussions with the central bank, the mines minister and the prime minister.
Under Congo’s 2018 mining code, miners must repatriate 60 percent of revenue from mineral sales back into the Congo, to help develop Congo’s economy.
Barrick needs the $500 million in order to pay back loans and dividends, Bristow said. AngloGold Ashanti, which owns 45 percent of Kibali, is entitled to half the money after dividends are paid, he said.
AngloGold Ashanti declined to comment, referring Reuters back to Barrick.
In May, Bristow had said the issue of the $500 million “keeps us awake at night”.
Barrick’s push to get the money out comes as Congo’s economy is under significant strain from the pandemic, with foreign currency reserves shrinking and mining companies taking longer to repatriate the 60 percent of mineral sales.
“Unfortunately, we have noted that repatriation of the 60 percent is currently erratic,” mines minister Willy Kitobo Samsoni told Reuters, adding he had warned mining companies to repatriate that capital immediately, or risk sanctions as set out in the mining code.
Delayed repatriation of funds is among the pressures facing the mining sector, a critical contributor to Congo’s economy, Samsoni said on Saturday.