UPDATE 1-Barrick's Congo mine rejects financial claim by state-owned shareholder

·2 min read

(Adds Kibali production, Barrick CEO comment, shares)

JOHANNESBURG, April 19 (Reuters) - Kibali Goldmines SA, the Congolese joint venture of Barrick and AngloGold Ashanti, said its 10% shareholder Société Minière de Kilo-Moto (SOKIMO) had filed a financial claim against it in a Kinshasa commercial court.

The Democratic Republic of Congo news website objectif-infos.cd published documents on Sunday showing state-owned SOKIMO filed proceedings on April 16 claiming Kibali owed SOKIMO $1.1138 billion dollars in unpaid dividends and other funds.

Kibali said it had learned of this action on Sunday and described the claim as a second attempt by SOKIMO to "extort certain benefits from the company". Kibali said SOKIMO withdrew its first claim after it was "shown to be without foundation".

"Kibali also rejects the current proceedings on the basis that it was similarly spurious and without substance, and would seek its dismissal as it had done with the previous claim," the company said in a statement.

SOKIMO did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

In its documents published on the Congolese website, SOKIMO said the cash it was claiming included fees for the use of SOKIMO's share of the mine.

Barrick, Kibali's operator, has been seeking to repatriate $500 million belonging to the venture out of the Congo for more than a year.

Barrick Chief Executive Mark Bristow said in February that the formation of a new government in the Congo should aid the release of the money.

On Monday, Bristow said in a release that he looked forward to working with President Felix Tshisekedi and his coalition government "to resolve certain outstanding issues around the mining code and the repatriation of cash."

The mine produced 191,612 ounces of gold in the first quarter and has contributed $3.5 billion to the country's economy since development started in 2010, Barrick said.

Barrick's Toronto-listed shares edged lower in midday trade in line with gold prices which eased off a seven-week peak. (Reporting by Helen Reid; additional reporting by Jeff Lewis in Toronto; Editing by Edmund Blair and David Gregorio)