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mining

The departure of Shaun Usmar, a former Xstrata executive, comes as sentiment has turned in Barrick’s favour.Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press

Barrick Gold Corp.'s chief financial officer, Shaun Usmar, is resigning after one year on the job to start his own mining financing firm.

Mr. Usmar will be replaced by Barrick's head of business performance Catherine Raw, who is a former co-head of BlackRock Inc.'s flagship mining fund, at the company's annual meeting in April.

Toronto-based Barrick has seen high turnover in its executive ranks since John Thornton took over as sole chairman in 2014. Last year, Jim Gowans, the company's former co-president and top mining operator, left to join a junior gold miner.

The departure of Mr. Usmar, a former Xstrata executive, comes as sentiment has turned in Barrick's favour. The company's stock has jumped 70 per cent this year and the miner has won praise for reducing its debt.

Mr. Usmar's new firm will be backed by hedge fund Elliot Management and will focus on royalties and other forms of financing in the mining industry.

It has been a prolific time for mining financiers given that many heavily-indebted mining companies, such as Anglo American PLC and Freeport-McMoRan Inc., are desperately trying to sell mines to pay down debt.

Mr. Usmar is no stranger to the world of private capital. He used to work for former Barrick chief executive Aaron Regent's privately-held Magris Resources. Mr. Regent's firm is one of a handful of firms that has capital to make acquisitions.

The press release did not say how much funding Elliot Management would be providing to the new venture.