My latest for Moneyweek:

I can remember back in 2004, sipping wine with a French friend, looking out at the sea off the South-West coast of France, and explaining why he should buy gold.

Whether it was the wine or my argument that persuaded him, he was convinced. He announced that the following morning he would buy options on Barrick, the world’s largest gold producer.

I never found out if he made the purchase or not. I hope he didn’t. Gold was a buy. But the world’s largest gold producer wasn’t. I’ll explain why in a moment.

But now Barrick is selling shares of its African unit in a London IPO. Is this a company goldbugs – and my French friend – should be looking to buy now? Or is it one to avoid?

Read on …