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Incoming Barrick Gold executive chairman John Thornton became a lightning rod for unhappy Barrick investors when it was revealed he had received $17-billion in compensation.
Incoming Barrick Gold executive chairman John Thornton became a lightning rod for unhappy Barrick investors when it was revealed he had received $17-billion in compensation.
(Tim Fraser/Tim Fraser)

Barrick needs a deal maker, not a deal breaker

Barrick Gold Corp. co-chairman John Thornton has laid out a vision for creating a diversified miner – a vision that is going to be more difficult to realize after a nasty end to talks in his first major transaction.

Mr. Thornton has stated he wants Barrick to be a leader “in a range of minerals.” To do that, he is going to have to be a buyer, adding companies that produce other metals to complement Barrick’s output of gold and copper. So it’s all the more problematic that would-be merger partner Newmont Mining Corp. singled out Mr. Thornton as a particular obstacle to getting a deal done. Even if it’s not true (and it’s hard to know what is fact in any such situation), the statement is out there now and will be attached to Mr. Thornton’s name.