In the first quarter of 2021, Toronto-based gold major Barrick Gold (TSX: ABX; NYSE: GOLD) produced 1.1 million oz. of gold and 93 million lb. of copper, in line with its plan for the year. In the production release, the company notes that it remains on track to meet its 2021 production guidance of 4.4 to 4.7 million gold oz. and 410 to 460 million lb. of copper. Barrick expects its metal output to be higher in the second half of the year than the first, also on track with its plan for 2021.
In the first three months, Barrick’s 61.5% stake in the Nevada Gold Mines joint venture contributed 485,000 oz. The Carlin operations in the JV generated 229,000 oz. for Barrick. Outside of North America, the 80%-owned Loulo-Gounkoto complex in western Mali churned out 154,000 oz. in the first quarter. Hemlo, 350 km east of Thunder Bay in Ontario, generated 47,000 oz. over the first three months.
The Lumwana open pit mine in Zambia was the top copper producer in the first quarter for Barrick, contributing 51 million lb. to the 93 million lb. total.
First-quarter gold output was lower than the 1.2 million oz. recorded in the fourth quarter of 2020 due to planned mine sequencing at Carlin and Cortez in Nevada and lower grades at the Pueblo Viejo mine in the Dominican Republic, as an expansion project advances at the open pit mine.
Gold all-in sustaining costs per ounce are expected to be 8% to 10% higher for the first quarter when compared against the US$929 per oz. recorded in the fourth quarter of 2020 while copper AISCs per lb. are anticipated to drop 6% to 8% from the US$2.42 a lb. posted in the fourth quarter due to higher sales volumes.
This year, Barrick expects gold AISCs of US$970 to US$1,020 per oz. while copper AISCs are forecast between US$2 and US$2.2 per lb.
Additional details on production and sales are expected with the company’s complete first-quarter results release, scheduled for May 5.