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Barrick Gold gains as it readies for board shakeup: WSJ

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Barrick Gold Corp. (TSE:ABX) shares advanced Wednesday as the gold giant is expected to announce the appointment of Ned Goodman to its board today, and to hire Jim Gowans as its chief operating officer as part of a major shakeup, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. 

Dundee Corp's Goodman, a Canadian resource investor, is expected to replace former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney on the board. 

The news follows reports from earlier this week that Barrick will today confirm that chairman Peter Munk will step down at the company's next annual shareholders meeting, and will be succeeded by co-chairman John Thornton.

The gold producer, which has lost roughly 52% of its share price year-to-date, has been mired by shareholder complaints and various charges this year, as miners struggle to remain profitable amid a declining gold price and a higher cost environment. Since its 2013 annual meeting earlier this year, the company said its directors have been in discussions with its institutional investors and is in the midst of addressing issues that had been raised, including with Barrick's executive compensation scheme and a "rejuvenation of the board through a combination of departures, the addition of independent directors and succession in the Chairman role at the company."

Last month, the company said it was suspending construction at its Pascua-Lama mine that straddles the Chile-Argentina border as a means to conserve cash and reduce capital costs for next year by up to another $1.0 billion. The company is also targeting $500 million of additional annual savings related to job reductions from a company-wide review launched earlier this  year -- now largely complete -- and through a new operating model and a program to reduce procurement costs. 

The troubled project on the border between Chile and Argentina was initially expected to be producing gold and silver this year, but it suffered legal setbacks as it has long been the subject of concerns relating to its proximity to glaciers and to the effects of inadequate water safety on downstream communities.

Shares of Barrick were trading up 1.3% within minutes of the closing bell in Toronto, at $16.73. 

Quick facts: Barrick Gold Corp.

Price: 35.21 CAD

TSX:ABX
Market: TSX
Market Cap: $62.61 billion
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