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Barrick replaces 140% of gold reserve, no need for ‘dilutionary or delusionary’ M&A

Barrick CEO Mark Bristow.

Barrick CEO Mark Bristow.

15th February 2024

By: Martin Creamer

Creamer Media Editor

     

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JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – New York- and Toronto-listed mining company Barrick has replaced more than 140% of its gold reserves in the last five years and more importantly at the same grade, Barrick CEO Dr Mark Bristow pointed out in reporting full-year 2023 gold production of 4.05-million ounces and copper production of 420-million pounds.

Recording a 50% increase in free cash flow to $646-million for 2023, Bristow again placed emphasis on replacing reserves organically rather than acquisitively and highlighted Barrick’s position of not being forced to buy its growth.

During 2023, Barrick replaced 109% of attributable gold depletion, with Africa making a strong contribution, as well as 124% of its copper depletion.

The five-year outlook is again strongly upward in production and downward in cost terms, it was stated in the presentation covered by Mining Weekly.

“Our track record of replacing reserves gives us the confidence to know we can deliver without the need for dilutionary or delusionary acquisitions – and importantly, we have the balance sheet strength and operating cash flows to fund this growth, while still maintaining our industry leading credit rating. As I’ve often said, mining is a long game, and that should not be measured by quarters,” Bristow added.

Questioned by research analyst Bob Bracket about merger and acquisition (M&A) opportunities that the Barrick team would not see as being dilutionary or delusionary, Bristow pointed to the BHP gold assets in Mali that were acquired to start Randgold Resources which merged with Barrick five years ago.

“That was a very accretory acquisition. We then acquired Moto, which is today Kibali, in a hostile takeover, which was accretory. Then the Randgold-Barrick merger was definitely a value-creating exercise.

“It’s a long-term platform and it is not possible for most other companies that did M&A around that time and paid premiums, to show a long-term new foundation for those transactions.

“Then we did the Acacia takeout, which again has been a spectacular investment, and although we didn’t issue paper for the Nevada joint venture, certainly the whole is substantially more valuable than the sum of the individual parts.

“Those are the only transactions I’ve been involved in and they all worked, and I speak on behalf of myself and the team at Barrick.

"Those are value-added transactions and they’re all at market and all have organic growth embedded in the asset as well, so that’s what we like to do. Those are the opportunities that we look for,” Bristow highlighted.

The company’s Africa operations, which include Loulo-Gounkoto in Mali, North Marwa and Bulyanhulu in Tanzania, Kibali in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lumwana in Zambia and Tongon in Cote d’Ivoire, delivered on guidance for the fifth consecutive year and replaced all mined reserves.

Loulo-Gounkoto mine’s solar farm extension to 60 MW and its new 36 MW battery energy storage system were commissioned ahead of time and below original capital cost.

Barrick reported a 6% year-on-year cut in Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse-gas emissions. The 958 ha of land reclaimed and rehabilitated by the company was well above target.

Sixteen-million dollars were invested in local economic development and $10-million was spent on education in local communities.

Ninety seven per cent of its employees are host country nationals and 57% are from local communities.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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