Barrick Gold (TSX: ABX; NYSE: GOLD) met its 2021 production guidance thanks to strong performances from its African, Middle East and Latin American operations.
According to numbers released this week, the company produced 4.4 million oz. gold at an all-in sustaining cost (AISC) of US$1,026 per oz. Compare that to 2020 production of 4.76 million oz. at US$967 per oz. in 2020. The 2021 realized price was US$1,790 per oz., up from US$1,778 a year earlier.
Copper production was 415 million lb. at an AISC of US$2.26 per lb. Output fell from 2020 levels of 457 million lb. at an AISC of US$2.23. The 2021 realized price per pound was US$4.32 in 2021.
Barrick also increased gold reserves net of depletion at a better grade due to continued brownfields exploration and its hunt for new discoveries in new territories. Using a gold price of US$1,200 per oz., proven and probable reserves stood at 69 million oz. grading 1.71 g/t gold in 2021, up from 68 million oz. at 1.66 g/t in 2020.
Copper reserves, using a price of US$2.75 per lb., were 12 billion lb. grading 0.38% copper at Dec. 31, 2021, virtually unchanged from a year earlier.
For the 2021 year, Barrick enjoyed US$4.4 billion in net cash provided by operating activities and adjusted net earnings of US$2.1 billion. That equates to adjusted net earnings per share of US$1.16. After record cash distributions to shareholders of US$1.4 billion, net cash totalled US$130 million. The company also initiated a share buyback program of up to US$1 billion.
The company made capital expenditures totalling US$2.4 billion, including project capital of US$747 million, sustaining capital of $1.7 billion, and capitalized interest of US$15 million in 2021. The cost of new projects continues to jump; it was US$370 million in 2019, US$471 million, and US$747 million last year – a rise of about 59% from 2020 through 2021.
Looking ahead to 2022, Barrick has set production guidance at 4.2 million to 4.6 million oz. of gold at an AISC of US$1,040 to US$1,120 per oz. Copper output is expected to be between 420 million and 470 million lb. at an AISC of US$2.70 to US$3.00 per lb.
Detailed information about individual operating mines is available at www.Barrick.com.