TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – Canada’s Barrick Gold Corp, the world’s most prolific gold producer, plans to repay about $2-billion in debt this year, after achieving its $3-billion goal for 2015.
During 2015, Toronto-headquartered Barrick had pruned its debt load of just under $13-billion by 24%, by selling its noncore assets.
Barrick on Wednesday laid out its plan to reduce its yearly output to at least 4.5-million a year by 2020, while simultaneously driving down all-in sustaining costs (AISC) to below $700/oz by 2019. Barrick advised that its overarching objective was to generate, and ideally grow, free cash flow in any foreseeable gold price environment.
The miner said it expected to produce between 5-million and 5.5-million ounces of gold at an AISC of between $775/oz and $825/oz this year, in stark contrast with 2015 production of 6.12-million ounces at an AISC of $831/oz.
While 2017 output was expected to mirror that of 2016, albeit at a lower AISC of between $470/oz to $790/oz, 2018 output was expected to decline to between 4.6-million and 5.1-million ounces at an AISC of between $725/oz and $775/oz.
Barrick’s fourth-quarter adjusted profit had beaten analyst forecasts by $0.02 a share, reporting earnings of $91-million, or $0.08 a share, in the fourth quarter ended December 31.
The company reported a net loss for the three-month period of $2.62-billion, or $2.25 a share, reflecting a $3.1-billion charge related to goodwill impairment and asset impairment charges, which were mainly related to its stalled Pascua-Lama project in Argentina/Chile and Pueblo Viejo, in the Dominican Republic.
Consolidated revenues for the period fell nearly 11% to $2.24-billion, as a 4% year-on-year improvement in gold sales to 1.64-million ounces was undone by an 8.22% decline in the average realised price of $1 105/oz.
Barrick advised that its proven and probable gold reserves totalled 91.9-million ounces as of December 31, excluding the initial inferred resource of 5.5-million ounces at its Alturas discovery, in Chile.
In 2015, despite lower gold prices, Barrick recorded positive free cash flow for the first time in four years, generating $471-million for the full year, and $387-million in the fourth quarter.
Meanwhile, the board on Wednesday declared a dividend for the quarter of $0.02 a share, payable in March, and appointed Kelvin Dushnisky to the board.
Barrick’s NYSE-listed stock fell 2.35% to $11.61 apiece in aftermarket trading on Thursday, having gained 50% in value since the start of the year.