The Globe and Mail reports in its Wednesday edition that with Barrick Gold completing its merger with Randgold Resources, investors will need to see evidence that the combined company can navigate a shift toward higher-risk African mines. The Globe's David Berman writes that the deal between Barrick and Randgold, finalized on Jan. 1, comes amid a much-needed jolt for the gold sector, as gold miners had fallen out of favour in recent years. As of Tuesday, Barrick shares were up 27 per cent from lows in September, before the takeover announcement. Barrick now owns five of the 10 biggest Tier 1 gold mines: Goldstrike, Cortez, Pueblo Viejo, Loulo-Gounkoto and Kibali. The deal, however, transforms Barrick, known for a portfolio of mines largely located in the United States, into a radically new company because of Randgold's more far-flung operations in Mali, Ivory Coast and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In Tanzania, the government is accusing Barrick's Acacia Mining PLC of tax fraud, but there are signs of a breakthrough in negotiations. Changing the narrative of mining in Africa, from risk to reward, will ease concerns, but risk-averse investors will wait to see if Barrick's big bet on Africa is the right one.
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