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Barrick's Q2 production, costs boost profits

The world’s second biggest gold producer Barrick Gold has nearly doubled its headline profit for the three months ended June, as a 27% year-on-year production increase and sound cost performance buoyed the bottom line.
Barrick's Q2 production, costs boost profits Barrick's Q2 production, costs boost profits Barrick's Q2 production, costs boost profits Barrick's Q2 production, costs boost profits Barrick's Q2 production, costs boost profits

Barrick’s second-quarter financials were boosted by a rising gold price

Profit in the period, adjusted to remove special items, rose from US$76 million to $223 million, with the Toronto-headquartered miner saying it remained on track to achieve the top-end of its full-year guidance and the low-end of its full-year cost projection.

Barrick said gold output rose to 1.35Moz in the second quarter, underpinned by its Loulo-Gounkoto mine in Mali and the Veladero mine in Argentina. That compares with production of 1.37Moz in the first quarter and 1.1Moz in the comparable period a year earlier.

All-in sustaining costs for the quarter came in at $869/oz, a slight increase from $856 reported in the corresponding year-earlier quarter. Barrick has guided for 2019 attributable gold production of 5.1-5.6Moz at AISC of $870-$920/oz.

Barrick's second-quarter financials were boosted by a rising gold price, which achieved its highest level in six years in June. On Monday, gold rose to $1,507/oz in New York.

Copper output for the period rose about 17% year-on-year to 97Mlb, at lower AISC of $2.28/lb.

Since its formal creation on January 1 following its no-premium merger with Randgold Resources, Barrick has been working feverishly to integrate its Africa and Americas-based assets under one corporate umbrella. It most recently formed a joint venture, Nevada Gold Mines, with rival Newmont in Nevada and is currently pursuing a minority share buyout of London-listed Acacia Mining, which it believes will close next month.

"That's a lot of boxes ticked in a short time," CEO Mark Bristow said.

Bristow underlined the host of value-creating opportunities across the company's portfolio. He said Nevada Gold Mines owned three of the world's tier one gold assets, with a fourth in the making in the form of Goldrush-Fourmile.

Elsewhere, Pueblo Viejo in the Dominican Republic represented another tier one mine that offered what was probably the group's most exciting growth prospect, Bristow said.

"On a 100% basis, this is a billion-dollar plant expansion project which is expected to deliver annual average production in excess of 800,000oz from 2022 to beyond 2030. In Papua New Guinea, the extension of Porgera's special mining lease, currently being negotiated, should double the life of this potential tier one mine, currently standing at 10 years."

Globally Barrick is pursuing an aggressive exploration strategy which includes a renewed focus on Latin America and on the highly prospective El Indio Belt which spans Argentina, Peru and Chile. Barrick said its African assets were on track for brownfields resource replacement and there were opportunities for major new discoveries along the Mali-Senegal Shear Zone and the Congolese and Tanzanian cratons.

In Nevada, exceptionally high grades intersected at Barrick's Fourmile project had confirmed its potential for significant resource growth, it said.

New York investment bank Jefferies said with 2.72Moz of gold "already produced in 1H19", Barrick management was optimistic about delivering full year output at the top end of their guidance range of 5.1-5.6Moz. Full-year copper guidance had been maintained at 375-430Mlb at C1 cash costs of $1.70-2/lb.

"Successful operational performance at the newly created Nevada Gold Mines would be an incremental positive to the company's gold production profile," Jefferies said.

"As the 61.5% owner Barrick will operate the JV and, on its estimates, will deliver synergies of up to $500 million per year in the first five years. If that synergy number can be realised we would be pleasantly surprised as we are not including that upside in our model.

"The JV is expected to produce 1.8-1.9Moz at AISC of $920-950 per ounce in 2H19."

While it is bullish on its core portfolio, Barrick is also looking to sell $1.5 billion in assets by next year.

Shares in Barrick (NYSE:GOLD) have risen by 38% year-to-date to trade at $18.14 on the New York Stock Exchange, after it achieved a new 12-month high earlier on Monday at $18.66. The company has a market capitalisation of $31.52 billion.