Motley Rice LLC, sole lead counsel in In re Barrick Gold Securities Litigation, has reached a $140 million preliminary settlement with the leading gold mining company Barrick Gold Corporation (NYSE: ABX), on behalf of shareholders who purchased or acquired Barrick common stock on the New York Stock Exchange between May 7, 2009 and Nov. 1, 2013.
Today, plaintiffs filed an application for preliminary settlement approval with U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman. Lead plaintiffs in the case are Union Asset Management Holding AG and LRI Invest S.A.
Lead plaintiffs alleged that Barrick and certain current and former executives misrepresented the company’s compliance with environmental regulations and the adequacy of the company’s internal controls related to the company’s Pascua-Lama mine located along the border of Chile and Argentina. On April 1, 2015, the court denied in part the defendants’ motion to dismiss the 197-page Consolidated Amended Class Action Complaint and on March 23, 2016, granted the lead plaintiffs’ motion for class certification.
“I am pleased we were able to reach this resolution for investors,” said Motley Rice lead attorney for the plaintiffs, James M. Hughes.
Barrick purchased the Pascua-Lama gold mine in 1994 and from 2000 to 2006 worked to obtain environmental approval from the Chilean and Argentine governments. Among one of the contingencies for approval was that Barrick would follow 400 environmental conditions as set forth by Chilean regulators.
On May 7, 2009, Barrick announced that it would start construction at the Pascua-Lama site, claiming it would be one of the lowest-cost gold mines in the world and yield double-digit returns for investors. Despite significant environmental compliance issues throughout the class period, which resulted in the issuance of an injunction that suspended construction, lead plaintiffs asserted Barrick released statements to investors that it was in compliance with environmental regulations and had adequate internal controls. On Oct. 31, 2013, Barrick indefinitely halted the project, having spent more than $5 billion on the project.
Motley Rice attorneys James Hughes, William Narwold, Christopher Moriarty, Meredith Weatherby, Robert Haefele and Michael Pendell led the litigation as sole lead counsel, working with liaison counsel Labaton Sucharow LLP and additional counsel Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP.
The case is In re Barrick Gold Securities Litigation, case number 1:13-CV-03851 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.