Paulson nears launch of investor alliance to shake up gold sector - sources

TORONTO/VANCOUVER, June 1 (Reuters) - U.S. hedge fund Paulson & Co, led by long-time gold bull John Paulson, is set to name a group of investors that will work together to try to drive changes and better returns from gold mining companies after years of dismal industry performance, according to people familiar with the situation.

The Shareholders Gold Council (SGC), expected to be launched as early as June, will have more than a dozen investors, including Delbrook Capital, Livermore Partners and Tocqueville Asset Management, one of the people said.

Delbrook confirmed to Reuters that it will be part of the group.

BlackRock Inc and Van Eck Associates, two of the biggest mining sector investors, are also in discussions to join the group of hedge funds and institutional investors, the source added.

BlackRock manages about $6.3 trillion in assets. Paulson & Co had $8.7 billion in assets under management in January, according to regulatory filings.

The Canadian gold-mining index has lost 40 percent of its value in the past decade, compared with a 9 percent gain in the benchmark TSX index and a 95 percent rise in the S&P 500. Gold has risen 46 percent in the same period.

Paulson & Co first announced its intent at an institutional gold conference last September.

The alliance is unusual because there is no similar group of investors targeting a specific sector, activism experts say.

The group will begin by releasing research reports on the gold mining sector, the sources said, betting that shining spotlight on the space will result in greater accountability.

SGC will push gold mining companies to make changes in capital allocation, compensation and corporate governance, as well as aim to raise the sector’s profile among mainstream investors.

Others joining the fund will include Kopernik Global Investors, Adrian Day Asset Management, Apogee Global Advisors and Equinox Partners.

Paulson & Co, Van Eck, Livermore and Adrian Day declined to comment. BlackRock, Tocqueville, Kopernik, Apogee and Equinox did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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