Barrick Gold Corporation (NYSE:GOLD) (TSX:ABX) announced preliminary full year and fourth quarter 2021 production results, which demonstrate that despite the ongoing challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, it has met its annual guidance targets for the third consecutive year. Preliminary gold production for the full year of 4.44 million ounces was within the 4.4 to 4.7 million ounce guidance1 range, with both the Africa & Middle East and Latin America & Asia Pacific regions finishing the year at the higher end of their regional gold guidance range. Preliminary copper production of 415 million pounds for 2021 was also within the guidance range of 410 to 460 million pounds.
The preliminary Q4 results show sales for the quarter of 1.23 million ounces of gold and 113 million pounds of copper, as well as preliminary Q4 production of 1.20 million ounces of gold and 126 million pounds of copper. The average market price for gold in Q4 was $1,795 per ounce, while the average market price for copper was $4.40 per pound.
Preliminary Q4 gold production was higher than Q3 2021, mainly due to the strong performance from Carlin and Cortez following the repair of the Goldstrike roaster completed at the end of the third quarter, which allowed for increased processing of material mined from both sites. Preliminary Q4 gold sales were higher than Q3 2021 as Veladero sold a portion of its built-up gold inventory. Q4 gold cost of sales per ounce2 are expected to be 3-5% lower than Q3 2021, total cash costs per ounce3 are expected to be 1-3% lower than the prior quarter, and gold all-in sustaining costs per ounce3 are expected to be 4-6% lower, than in Q3 2021.
Preliminary Q4 copper production was higher than Q3 2021, primarily due to increased throughput levels at Lumwana. Preliminary Q4 copper sales were lower than production, mainly due to the timing of shipments at Lumwana. Q4 copper cost of sales per pound2 is expected to be 13-15% lower and Q4 copper C1 cash costs per pound3 are expected to be 11-13% lower, while copper all-in sustaining costs per pound3 are expected to be 11-13% higher than Q3 2021 due to higher capital expenditures at Lumwana, primarily related to new mining equipment and stripping.
Barrick will provide additional discussion and analysis regarding its full year and fourth quarter production and sales when the Company reports its quarterly and full year 2021 results before North American markets open on February 16, 2022.
The following table includes preliminary gold and copper production and sales results from Barrick’s operations:
|Three months ended||Twelve months ended|
|December 31, 2021||December 31, 2021|
|Gold (attributable ounces (000))|
|Turquoise Ridge (61.5%)||82||84||334||337|
|Long Canyon (61.5%)||33||34||161||161|
|Nevada Gold Mines (61.5%)||604||611||2,036||2,039|
|Pueblo Viejo (60%)||107||113||488||497|
|North Mara (84%)||69||70||260||257|
|Copper (attributable pounds (millions))|
|Jabal Sayid (50%)||21||25||76||72|
The scientific and technical information contained in this news release has been reviewed and approved by: Craig Fiddes, SME-RM, Manager – Resource Modeling, Nevada Gold Mines; Chad Yuhasz, P.Geo, Mineral Resource Manager, Latin America and Asia Pacific; and Simon Bottoms, CGeol, MGeol, FGS, FAusIMM, Mineral Resources Manager, Africa and Middle East – each a “Qualified Person” as defined in National Instrument 43-101 – Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects.
Porgera was placed on temporary care and maintenance in April 2020 and was not included in our full year 2021 guidance. On April 9, 2021, the Government of Papua New Guinea and Barrick Niugini Limited, the operator of the Porgera joint venture, signed a framework agreement in which they agreed on a partnership for Porgera’s future ownership and operation.
Gold cost of sales per ounce is calculated as cost of sales across our gold operations (excluding sites in care and maintenance) divided by ounces sold (both on an attributable basis based on Barrick’s ownership share). Copper cost of sales per pound is calculated as cost of sales across our copper operations divided by pounds sold (both on an attributable basis based on Barrick’s ownership share).
References to attributable basis means our 100% share of Hemlo and Lumwana, our 89.7% share of Tongon, our 84% share of North Mara, Bulyanhulu and Buzwagi, our 80% share of Loulo-Gounkoto, our 61.5% share of Nevada Gold Mines, our 60% share of Pueblo Viejo, our 50% share of Veladero, Zaldívar and Jabal Sayid and our 45% share of Kibali.
Total cash costs per ounce, all-in sustaining costs per ounce and all-in costs per ounce are non-GAAP financial measures which are calculated based on the definition published by the World Gold Council (“WGC”) (a market development organization for the gold industry comprised of and funded by gold mining companies from around the world, including Barrick). The WGC is not a regulatory organization. Management uses these measures to monitor the performance of our gold mining operations and its ability to generate positive cash flow, both on an individual site basis and an overall company basis.
Total cash costs start with our cost of sales related to gold production and removes depreciation, the non-controlling interest of cost of sales and includes by-product credits. All-in sustaining costs start with total cash costs and include sustaining capital expenditures, sustaining leases, general and administrative costs, minesite exploration and evaluation costs and reclamation cost accretion and amortization. These additional costs reflect the expenditures made to maintain current production levels.
We believe that our use of total cash costs, all-in sustaining costs and all-in costs will assist analysts, investors and other stakeholders of Barrick in understanding the costs associated with producing gold, understanding the economics of gold mining, assessing our operating performance and also our ability to generate free cash flow from current operations and to generate free cash flow on an overall company basis. Due to the capital-intensive nature of the industry and the long useful lives over which these items are depreciated, there can be a significant timing difference between net earnings calculated in accordance with IFRS and the amount of free cash flow that is being generated by a mine and therefore we believe these measures are useful non-GAAP operating metrics and supplement our IFRS disclosures. These measures are not representative of all of our cash expenditures as they do not include income tax payments, interest costs or dividend payments. These measures do not include depreciation or amortization.
Total cash costs per ounce, all-in sustaining costs and all-in costs are intended to provide additional information only and do not have standardized definitions under IFRS and should not be considered in isolation or as a substitute for measures of performance prepared in accordance with IFRS. These measures are not equivalent to net income or cash flow from operations as determined under IFRS. Although the WGC has published a standardized definition, other companies may calculate these measures differently.
C1 cash costs per pound and all-in sustaining costs per pound are non-GAAP financial measures related to our copper mine operations. We believe that C1 cash costs per pound enables investors to better understand the performance of our copper operations in comparison to other copper producers who present results on a similar basis. C1 cash costs per pound excludes royalties and production taxes and non-routine charges as they are not direct production costs. All-in sustaining costs per pound is similar to the gold all-in sustaining costs metric and management uses this to better evaluate the costs of copper production. We believe this measure enables investors to better understand the operating performance of our copper mines as this measure reflects all of the sustaining expenditures incurred in order to produce copper. All-in sustaining costs per pound includes C1 cash costs, sustaining capital expenditures, sustaining leases, general and administrative costs, minesite exploration and evaluation costs, royalties and production taxes, reclamation cost accretion and amortization and write-downs taken on inventory to net realizable value.
Barrick will provide a full reconciliation of these non-GAAP financial measures when the Company reports its quarterly results on February 16, 2022.
Operating results within our 61.5% interest in Carlin includes NGM’s 60% interest in South Arturo up until May 30, 2021, and 100% interest thereafter, reflecting the terms of the exchange transaction with i-80 Gold Corp. which closed on October 14, 2021.
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