Barrick Gold Corporation has completed or progressed major capital projects in the second quarter of the year while its globally broadened exploration programmes delivered substantial reserve gains and stepped up the search for new world-class discoveries.
The new Phase 6 heap leach facility at Veladero has been commissioned on time while the third shaft at Turquoise Ridge in Nevada has been sunk to its final depth. Also in Nevada, the updated Goldrush feasibility study has confirmed that this is a world-class asset which meets Barrick’s investment criteria.
In the Dominican Republic, Pueblo Viejo and its stakeholders have agreed on a government-led independent, strategic environmental assessment of Pueblo Viejo’s Mine Life Extension Project, part of a $1.3 billion expansion project which is expected to allow Barrick to convert approximately 9 million ounces of measured and indicated resources to proven and probable reserves, extending this Tier One mine’s life to 2040 and beyond. In Mali, Africa, the Loulo-Gounkoto complex’s third underground mine has delivered its first ore.
The success of ongoing brownfields exploration indicates that the North America and Africa & Middle East regions will both more than replace reserves after mining depletion this year. Greenfields programs are targeting new discoveries across the Barrick portfolio, which has been extended to include Egypt, Guyana, Japan, Senegal and Tanzania.
“The gold mining industry’s chronic tendency to harvest the gold price instead of investing in the future has resulted in declining reserves and a shortage of high-quality development projects. At Barrick, on the other hand, a strong exploration culture combined with its sustainable profitability strategy is expanding its asset base as we look to discover exciting new opportunities,” says president and chief executive Mark Bristow.
Second quarter of 2021 production
“We’re constantly pumping new prospects into a development and project pipeline which already contains Goldrush, Fourmile and Robertson in Nevada, Donlin in Alaska, as well as new Loulo-Gounkoto and Kibali targets in Africa.
“The fact is that the industry has not been replacing what it’s been mining. Barrick, on the other hand, is running its business for the long term instead of focusing on short-term gains and working to extend its resource-based 10-year plans to 15 and even 20 years,” he says.
Production for the second quarter of 2021 was impacted by a mechanical mill failure at Carlin but Barrick remains on course to achieve its guidance for the year. Net earnings per share were 23 cents and adjusted net earnings were 29 cents. A dividend of 9 cents per share has been declared for the quarter, which also sees the delivery of the $250 million (approximately 14 cents per share) second tranche of the capital return. The balance sheet remained strong with cash in excess of $5 billion at the end of the quarter.
On the environmental front, Bristow noted the group had continued to meet and exceed its targets on water recycling as well as lowering energy and greenhouse gas intensity per tonne of ore processed.