September 28, 2018 / 4:03 AM / 3 months ago

Congo state miner warns Randgold on transfer of Kibali mine to Barrick

DAKAR, Sept 28 (Reuters) - Congo’s state miner Sokimo warned Randgold Resources on Friday that Sokimo would “assert its rights” in Barrick Gold Corp’s acquisition of Rangold’s stake in the Kibali project under a takeover deal, but Sokimo did not clarify its plans.

Canada’s Barrick Gold agreed to buy Randgold Resources Ltd this week in a $18.3 billion share deal to create the world’s largest gold company by value and output.

Randgold has a stake in several projects in the Democratic Republic of Congo, including the Kibali mine, a joint venture with AngloGold and Congolese state miner Sokimo. The project, one of Africa’s biggest gold mines, is 45 percent owned by Randgold, 45 percent by AngloGold and 10 percent by Sokimo.

“Sokimo ... will assert its rights,” the company said in a statement. It said the transaction represented an effort by the foreign companies “to impose themselves, without any prior discussion, in the countries from which the resources that make up their wealth are extracted.”

The same language about asserting rights was used by Congo’s other state miner, Gecamines, against Freeport, when in 2016 it announced the sale of its stake in the Tenke copper mine to China Molybdenum. Gecamines received $100 million in a settlement.

Randgold and the Congolese authorities have been locked in a bitter dispute this year over a new mining code that hikes taxes and removes a 10-year stability clause on mining firms’ existing deals with the government.

Reporting by Tim Cocks; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

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