‘Finding ounces better than buying them,' says Bristow as Barrick grows reserves and resources

Barrick CEO Mark Bristow

Barrick CEO Mark Bristow

10th February 2023

By: Creamer Media Reporter


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NYSE- and TSX-listed Barrick Gold has delivered a significant increase in its resources and reserves in 2022, as the group continues to invest in organic growth through exploration and mineral resource management.

“While we continue to evaluate all new opportunities against our strategic filters, we have always believed that finding our ounces is better than buying them, and this year’s resource and reserve statement showcases the unmatched potential of our organic growth pipeline,” said Bristow.

Barrick grew attributable proven and probable gold mineral reserves by 6.7-million ounces net of depletion in 2022, while maintaining grade despite an increase in the reserve price assumption. Reported at $1 300/oz, attributable proven and probable mineral reserves now stand at 76-million ounces at 1.67 g/t, increasing from 69-million ounces at 1.71 g/t at $1 200/oz in 2021.

Led by Pueblo Viejo, in Dominican Republic, and the Africa and Middle East region, Barrick has delivered a second consecutive year of gold reserve growth over and above natural depletion, with nearly 12-million ounces of attributable proven and probable reserve gains in 2022 before depletion.

Successful exploration at Lumwana, in Zambia, and Jabal Sayid, in Saudi Arabia, drove the growth of attributable proven and probable copper reserves by 640-million pounds, notwithstanding an increase in the annual reserve price assumption to $3.00/lb. As a result, Barrick replaced 103% of annual global depletion at consistent quality, effectively maintaining attributable proven and probable copper mineral reserves of 12-billion pounds at 0.38% in 2022.

Total attributable gold mineral resources grew by nearly 10% relative to 2021, and total attributable copper mineral resources more than doubled, growing by 124% year-on-year, both net of annual depletion. This growth was driven by the successful completion of a preliminary economic assessment (PEA) supporting the Lumwana Super Pit expansion, and the incorporation of Reko Diq, in Pakistan, following the reconstitution of the project in December.

Attributable measured and indicated gold resources for 2022 stand at 180-million ounces at 1.07 g/t, with a further 42-million ounces at 0.8 g/t of inferred resources. Attributable measured and indicated copper resources for 2022 stand at 44-billion pounds at 0.39%, with a further 15-billion pounds at 0.4% of inferred resources. Mineral resources are reported inclusive of reserves and for 2022, are based on a gold price of $1 700/oz and a copper price of $3.75/lb.

Mineral resource management and evaluation executive Simon Bottoms stated that basing the company’s reserve calculations at a price of $1 300/oz for gold and $3.00/lb for copper underpinned its focus on quality assets.

“The substantial growth in our mineral resources lays the long-term foundation to potentially grow our current attributable production profile of approximately 5.5-million gold equivalent ounces per year to approximately 6.5-million gold equivalent ounces per year by the end of this decade, which would include production from Reko Diq and the Lumwana Super Pit,” said Bottoms.

In Africa, the Tier One operations led the growth in 2022 reserves, where Kibali completed an updated underground feasibility study on the 11000 lode, delivering a 0.62-million-ounce increase in attributable proven and probable reserves before depletion. Loulo-Gounkoto also delivered strong results replacing reserve depletion, which further extended the mine life by another year.

In Tanzania, the focus on underground expansion at Gokona in North Mara has delivered a 0.44-million-ounce increase in 2022 attributable proven and probable reserves before depletion. The Lumwana copper mineral resource base grew by 89%, net of depletion, relative to 2021. This follows the completion of the PEA on the Super Pit expansion that demonstrates strong potential for a Tier One copper asset and provides the basis for the ongoing prefeasibility study (PFS).

Within the Latin America and Asia Pacific region, Pueblo Viejo completed a PFS for the new Naranjo tailings storage facility, adding 6.5-million ounces of attributable proven and probable reserves, net of depletion, and extending the mine life beyond 2040. As a result, 2022 attributable proven and probable gold reserves for the region have increased to 27-million ounces at 0.97 g/t from 21 million ounces at 0.83 g/t in 2021.

The reconstitution of the Reko Diq project added an attributable 18-billion pounds of copper at 0.44% with 15-million ounces of gold at 0.26 g/t to indicated resources, and an attributable 4.6-billion pounds of copper at 0.4% with 3.7-million ounces gold at 0.2 g/t to inferred resources.

In North America, the completion of a PFS for the Robertson openpit project at Cortez, in the US, as well as a new pushback in the Hemlo openpit, in Canada, were significant contributors to reserve growth. As a result, Robertson’s maiden attributable proven and probable gold reserves are estimated at one-million ounces at 0.46 g/t. This represents a milestone for Cortez as a key source of oxide mill feed in the mine plan. Similarly, the new Hemlo openpit pushback is expected to start in 2027 adding 0.86-million ounces of gold at 1.49 g/t to probable reserves.

Combined with other updates across the region, this results in the growth of North America attributable proven and probable reserves by 1.8-million ounces before depletion, with proven and probable attributable reserves for the region now estimated at 31-million ounces at 2.54 g/t.

At the same time, attributable gold mineral resources also grew significantly, supporting future potential reserve growth in line with our strategy to fully replace depletion for the region within a five-year period.

Edited by Mariaan Webb
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online



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