Skip to main content
02|28|2017
At Barrick, Innovation Is Everyone’s Business

Michelle Ash, Barrick’s first Chief Innovation Officer, discusses her role and Barrick’s changing approach to innovation

Margajita River

Michelle Ash, Barrick's Chief Innovation Officer, gives a presentation to Barrick colleagues during a recent innovation workshop in Toronto. The Company will be holding four more innovation workshops in the coming months at different Barrick sites

If you look back at Barrick’s history, the Company has been exceptionally innovative. Our hedging strategy in the 1990s was ahead of its time and put Barrick in a very good position to grow the business. We were also one of the first companies to use autoclaves and, more recently, we pioneered the use of thiosulfate in gold processing. We also developed a novel copper flotation process that occurs in salt water rather than fresh water.

What we’re trying to do now with innovation at Barrick is make it mainstream. Most of our people—and this isn’t unique to Barrick—see innovation as a technical thing that other people do. It’s not. Innovation is something that all of us can engage in and all of us can do; it’s everybody’s business. Yes, there are some technical aspects to some innovations, but we can also innovate by improving our work processes, encouraging people to share ideas and by finding new ways to collaborate.

Our role is to create great innovation processes and tools that our people can use.

While it’s early days, some of the key innovation themes that we’re thinking about include: designing an autonomous extraction process, especially for underground operations and mines that operate at more than 4,500 meters above sea level; developing new and affordable ways to extract minerals from exceptionally low-grade ore bodies; continuing to improve the quality of our partnerships, not only with our host communities and governments, but with suppliers and other mining companies; developing intelligent systems that facilitate real-time data analysis, increased transparency, faster planning and greater agility at every stage of the mining process; raising the already high bar on our ability to pinpoint the size, location and characteristics of gold ore bodies.

We also want to create additional shareholder value by leveraging our intellectual property. To that end, we’ve established a standalone company called Barrick Technologies to monetize patented technology that underpins novel processes such as our air-metabisulfate copper flotation process or thiosulfate-based gold processing technology. This will generate new revenue streams and spur faster development of these emerging technologies.

My team’s role is to energize people, create action plans and help develop the themes that will drive Barrick’s innovation strategy. Above all, our role is to create great innovation processes and tools that our people can use. Certainly we can’t do it all alone, and we don’t want to. As we build our strategic roadmap, we’re identifying areas where we lack expertise and looking to source that capability externally. We know, for example, that we’re going to need some form of artificial intelligence and that that capability doesn’t currently exist within our business or really across the mining industry. So we’re looking to the technology sector, finding out what’s cutting edge and approaching potential partners to see if they’re a good cultural and technological fit. There are opportunities for us to build relationships with great companies, and we are moving quickly.

Our team recently attended an innovation conference in Silicon Valley, and when we introduced ourselves to other attendees—and they were all tech companies—they were absolutely blown away that a mining company was at an innovation conference in Silicon Valley. So this is a novel approach and there are a ton of learnings to be had and a lot of value to be realized.

To close, here is one additional innovation avenue that we’re pursuing. This week we're sponsoring our first hackathon, which is taking place in Toronto. We are partnering with Unearthed Solutions, an Australian company that works with the resource industry to help drive innovation. We will present two operational challenges that we face to teams of software developers, who will spend two full days creating competing solutions. These developers generally don’t have any mining experience and, while there will be Barrick mentors present, it is in some ways a perfect match, because the developers don’t have any preconceptions about the way things are supposed to be done.

We plan to sponsor five more hackathons this year around the world, including the U.S., the U.K. and China. It’s an exciting opportunity to expose entrepreneurs and innovators to the mining industry.

Categories: Press Releases

DISCLAIMER

This web page contains documents relating to the proposed acquisition by Barrick Gold Corporation (“Barrick”) of Newmont Mining Corporation (“Newmont”). By accessing this website, you acknowledge the following:

Additional Information and Where to Find It

Barrick may file a registration statement on Form F-4 containing a prospectus of Barrick with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) in connection with the proposed transaction or a proxy statement (the “Barrick Proxy”) in connection with Newmont’s special meeting of stockholders. Any definitive proxy statement or final prospectus will be sent to the stockholders of Newmont. Investors and security holders are urged to read the Barrick Proxy, the prospectus and any other relevant document filed with the SEC when they become available, because they will contain important information about Barrick, Newmont and the proposed transaction. The Barrick Proxy, the prospectus and other documents relating to the proposed transaction (if and when they become available) can be obtained free of charge from the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov. These documents (if and when they become available) can also be obtained free of charge from Barrick by directing a request to Barrick Investor Relations: +1 416 861-9911, toll free (North America) at 1-800-720-7415 and 161 Bay Street, Suite 3700, Toronto, Ontario M5J 2S1, Canada.

Participants in Solicitation

This communication is a not a solicitation of a proxy from any investor or securityholder. However, Barrick and certain of its directors and executive officers may be deemed to be participants in the solicitation of proxies from Newmont stockholders in connection with Newmont’s special meeting of stockholders under the rules of the SEC. Certain information about the directors and executive officers of Barrick may be found in its 2017 Annual Report on Form 40-F filed with the SEC on March 26, 2018. Additional information regarding the interests of these participants will also be included in the proxy statement and the prospectus regarding the proposed transaction if and when they become available. These documents can be obtained free of charge from the sources indicated above.

Non-Solicitation

This communication shall not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any securities, nor shall there be any sale of securities in any jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of any such jurisdiction.

Forward-Looking Statements

This web page and the documents contained herein contain statements which are, or may be deemed to be, “forward-looking statements” (or “forward-looking information”), under applicable securities laws including for the purposes of the US Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements are prospective in nature and are not based on historical facts, but rather on current expectations and projections of the management of Barrick about future events, and are therefore subject to risks and uncertainties which could cause actual results to differ materially from the future results expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements contained in these communications include statements relating to (i) Barrick’s proposal to merge with Newmont in an all-share transaction, (ii) the expected impact of such a transaction on Barrick and Newmont, including the potential for real pre-tax synergies (and the net present value of any such synergies) as well as effects on and, as applicable, estimates of, Barrick’s portfolio of Tier One gold assets, NAV per share, revenues, Adjusted EBITDA, reserves and resources, market capitalization, trading liquidity, cash flow per share and free cash flow, (iii) Nevada’s position as the most prospective gold region, (iv) creation of the industry’s best gold investment vehicle, and Barrick’s ability to attract gold, generalist and yield-seeking investors, (v) opportunities for employees and other stakeholders, (vi) potential optimization of Barrick’s asset portfolio and the use of proceeds from any rationalization, (vii) the expected timing and scope of such a transaction, including timing and receipt of necessary regulatory approvals and satisfaction of conditions, (viii) Barrick’s future dividend payments or policies, and (ix) other statements other than historical facts. Often, but not always, forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of forward-looking words such as “plans”, “expects” or “does not expect”, “is expected”, “is subject to”, “budget”, “scheduled”, “estimates”, “forecasts”, “intends”, “anticipates” or “does not anticipate”, or “believes”, or variations of such words and phrases or statements that certain actions, events or results “may”, “could”, “should”, “would”, “might” or “will” be taken, occur or be achieved.

Although Barrick believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, Barrick can give no assurance that such expectations will prove to be correct. By their nature, forward-looking statements involve risk and uncertainty because they relate to events and depend on circumstances that will occur in the future. There are a number of factors that could cause actual results and developments to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. These factors include: risks relating to Newmont’s response to Barrick’s proposal and Barrick’s ability to engage with Newmont and its board of directors; Barrick and Newmont’s respective credit ratings; local and global political and economic conditions; Barrick’s economic model; liquidity risks; fluctuations in the spot and forward price of gold, copper, or certain other commodities (such as silver, diesel fuel, natural gas, and electricity); financial services risk; the risks associated with each of Barrick and Newmont’s brand, reputation and trust; environmental risks; safety and technology risks; the ability to realise the anticipated benefits of the proposed transaction or implementing the business plan for Barrick following such transaction, should it occur, including as a result of a delay in its completion or difficulty in integrating the businesses of the companies involved; risks relating to the ultimate outcome of any possible transaction between Barrick and Newmont, including the possibilities that Newmont will reject a transaction with Barrick or that Barrick will not pursue a transaction with Newmont, the risk that the conditions to completion of the transaction will not be satisfied; the risk that any shareholder approval of the transaction will not be obtained from the relevant shareholders; the risk that required regulatory approvals necessary to complete the transaction will not be obtained, or that conditions will be imposed in connection with such approvals that will increase the costs associated with the transaction or have other negative implications for Barrick following the transaction; the risk that litigation relating to the transaction may be commenced which may prevent, delay or give rise to significant costs or liabilities on the part of Barrick or Newmont; the risk that the focus of management’s time and attention on the transaction may detract from other aspects of the respective businesses of Barrick and Newmont; the risk that a material decrease in the trading price of Barrick common shares may occur; the risk that Barrick may not be able to retain key employees of Newmont following the transaction; the risk that the benefits from the potential transaction (including estimated synergies and savings, years of profitable production in Nevada, premium values and value creation for Newmont and Barrick shareholders and financial benefits from the potential transaction) may not be achieved or, if achieved, will not be achieved on the scale anticipated; changes in or enforcement of national and local government legislation, taxation, controls or regulations and/or changes in the administration of laws, policies and practices, expropriation or nationalization of property and political or economic developments in Canada, the United States and other jurisdictions in which Barrick and Newmont carry on business or in which Barrick may carry on business in the future; lack of certainty with respect to foreign legal systems, corruption and other factors that are inconsistent with the rule of law; legal or regulatory developments and changes; the outcome of any litigation, arbitration or other dispute proceeding; the impact of any acquisitions or similar transactions; competition and market risks; the impact of foreign exchange rates; pricing pressures; the possibility that future exploration results will not be consistent with expectations; risks that exploration data may be incomplete and considerable additional work may be required to complete further evaluation, including but not limited to drilling, engineering and socioeconomic studies and investment; risk of loss due to acts of war, terrorism, sabotage and civil disturbances; contests over title to properties, particularly title to undeveloped properties, or over access to water, power and other required infrastructure; and business continuity and crisis management. Other unknown or unpredictable factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements should therefore be construed in the light of such factors.

Neither Barrick nor any of its associates or directors, officers or advisers, provides any representation, assurance or guarantee that the occurrence of the events expressed or implied in any forward-looking statements in these communications will actually occur. You are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. Other than in accordance with their legal or regulatory obligations, Barrick is not under any obligation, and Barrick expressly disclaims any intention or obligation, to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.