Ottawa February 15 2023: Barrick Gold Corp. is looking to reverse a slump in its bullion output this year after posting its lowest production in more than two decades.
The company expects to produce 4.2 million to 4.6 million ounces this year, Barrick said while reporting fourth-quarter earnings that beat analysts’ expectations. That’s on par with last year’s guidance, and would be enough to snap the three-year decline that saw annual output sink to its lowest level since 2000 last year.
Barrick shares fell 2.8% to C$23.12 at 9:57 a.m. in Toronto.
Gold miners have been struggling with harder-to-mine deposits and higher input costs, even with gold prices up about 35% in the last five years. Barrick has also faced challenges at mines that hurt production, including repairs and upgrades in Nevada and stalled operations at its Porgera mine in Papua New Guinea while working out restart terms with the South Pacific government.
The increased output will come from operations in Nevada and the Dominican Republic, some of which are advancing mine expansions and upgrades in the coming year, Chief Executive Officer Mark Bristow said Wednesday in an interview in Bloomberg’s Toronto office. Barrick hasn’t attributed any production for Porgera in its forecast, though Bristow said he expects the mine to restart this year.
“Papua New Guinea’s not an easy place to work,” the CEO said. “Getting there is a challenge.”
Barrick produced 4.14 million ounces of gold last year, missing analysts estimates. The Toronto-based company has seen bullion output fall since acquiring Randgold Resources Ltd. in 2019; its highest annual output was in 2006, when it produced 8.64 million ounces in the year that saw Barrick take over Canadian rival Placer Dome Inc.
Barrick reported adjusted per-share profit of 13 cents for its fourth quarter, beating the average estimate of 12 cents a share by analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. The company also cut its dividend by a third to 10 cents a share and announced plans to buy back up to $1 billion in shares in the next 12 months.