In an information circular ahead of its annual shareholder meeting next month, lead director and chair of the compensation committee Brett Harvey said the committee had given Barrick's management leaders a collective grade of 40 out of 100, as measured against a long-term scorecard.
"To better align total compensation with the shareholder experience in 2017, and in recognition of the setbacks that Barrick experienced in 2017, including at Acacia, the president's [Kelvin Dushnisky] total compensation was reduced by 19% compared to 2016," Harvey said.
He said the committee also reduced executive chairman John Thornton's compensation after considering his strong leadership, a return on capital employed of 9.4% (within the company's long-term range of 7-12%), and "the challenging shareholder experience in 2017 relative to 2016" along with the Acacia and Veladero setbacks.
"On the basis of these considerations, the executive chairman received total incentive compensation of US$4.3 million and total compensation of $7.7 million, representing reductions of 18% and 9.4% from 2016, respectively," Harvey said.
He said the board acknowledged Thornton's long-term ownership in the company, holding more than 2.7 million shares or more than 13 times his base salary.
Barrick's Veladero mine in Argentina, now a 50:50 joint venture with Shandong Gold Mining Co (CH:600547), reported its third cyanide solution spill in 18 months in March 2017 which prompted cyanide restrictions and improvements to the heap leach operation.
Also in 2017, Barrick started direct negotiations with the Tanzanian government after the company's 63.9%-owned Acacia Mining (LN:ACA) was subject to a ban on concentrate exports and hit with a $190 billion dollar tax bill.
Barrick shares had doubled from C$10.81 at the start of 2016 to end the year around $22, hitting a three-year high mid-year of $27.58.
In contrast, its shares ended 2017 at $18.32 and fell to a 52-week low at the start of this month of $14.26.
Barrick shares closed on Friday at $16.12, valuing the company at $18.8 billion.