African Barrick shares plunge as exec resigns

Suzie Neuwirth
STRUGGLING Tanzania-focused miner African Barrick Gold yesterday said that its chief operating officer had resigned with immediate effect, less than a month after the departure of its chief executive.

The FTSE 250-listed firm issued no timeframe for the appointment of Marco Zolezzi’s replacement.

Chief executive Brad Gordon, who only took over three weeks ago from Greg Hawkins, will be undertaking both roles until a new chief operating officer is found.

“The only shock is that it took so long,” Cailey Barker, analyst at Numis, told City A.M. “Zolezzi hadn’t done a good job so it’s positive that he’s gone, but it’s bad that they now need to find a replacement. Gordon is still settling in but the pressure is now on for him to take on both roles.”

African Barrick Gold has struggled with operational issues and wider market challenges since being spun out of Canada’s Barrick Gold and floated back in 2010. Shares have fallen 73 per cent since the market listing. African Barrick Gold wrote down the value of its mines by $727m (£464m) in July after first-half losses of $701m, and is currently undergoing an operational restructuring.

“The company only has three assets now and only one is operational, but it has never really performed so it doesn’t bode well,” said Barker.

After falling six per cent initially, shares recovered by the afternoon to close 2.2 per cent higher at 170p.