Barrick Gold Corporation (NYSE:GOLD) (TSX:ABX) reported preliminary Q1 sales of 1.0 million ounces of gold and 113 million pounds of copper, as well as preliminary Q1 production of 1.0 million ounces of gold and 101 million pounds of copper. As previously guided, Barrick’s gold production in 2022 is expected to be the lowest in the first quarter increasing through the year, while copper production is expected to be higher in the second half of the year. We remain on track to achieve our full year gold and copper guidance1.
The average market price for gold in Q1 was $1,877 per ounce, while the average market price for copper in Q1 was $4.53 per pound.
As expected, preliminary Q1 gold production was lower than Q4 2021 including at: Carlin and Cortez following the depletion of stockpiled higher grade underground ore processed in Q4 2021 after the mechanical mill failure at the Goldstrike roaster in Q2 2021; Kibali and Turquoise Ridge due to planned maintenance; and Tongon due to mine sequencing. As Q1 gold ounces sold are 20% lower than the previous quarter, Q1 gold cost of sales per ounce2 is expected to be 10% to 12% higher, total cash costs per ounce3 are expected to be 15% to 17% higher and all-in sustaining costs per ounce3 are expected to be 19% to 21% higher than Q4.
Preliminary Q1 copper production was lower than Q4 2021, primarily at Lumwana as planned. As previously guided, we continue to expect steadily increasing throughput at Lumwana over the course of 2022. Notwithstanding the lower production, Q1 copper sales were in line with the prior quarter. Compared to Q4 2021, Q1 copper cost of sales per pound2 is expected to be in line with the prior quarter, while C1 cash costs per pound3 are expected to be 10 to 12% higher mainly due to lower planned grades at Lumwana, as the mine continued to focus on capitalized waste stripping to open up higher-grade mining areas and allow for future production growth over the five-year outlook. Copper all-in sustaining costs per pound3 are expected to be 1 to 3% lower than Q4.
Separately, Barrick has received a further $0.3 billion from Kibali in the first quarter of 2022, which follows the $107 million that Barrick received in dividend payments from Kibali in the fourth quarter of 2021.
Barrick will provide additional discussion and analysis regarding its first quarter 2022 production and sales when the Company reports its quarterly results before North American markets open on May 4, 2022.
The following table includes preliminary gold and copper production and sales results from Barrick’s operations:
|Three months ended|
|March 31, 2022|
|Gold (attributable ounces (000))|
|Turquoise Ridge (61.5%)||67||64|
|Long Canyon (61.5%)||25||25|
|Nevada Gold Mines (61.5%)||459||458|
|Pueblo Viejo (60%)||104||104|
|North Mara (84%)||56||58|
|Copper (attributable pounds (millions))|
|Jabal Sayid (50%)||19||17|
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 has been on temporary care and maintenance since April 2020 and is not currently included in our full year 2022 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. On February 3, 2022, the Framework Agreement was replaced by the more detailed Porgera Project Commencement Agreement (the “Commencement Agreement”). We expect to update our guidance to include Porgera following both the execution of definitive agreements to implement the binding Commencement Agreement and the finalization of a timeline for the resumption of full mine operations.
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 May 4, 2022.
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