Toronto – Driven by strong performances from its Africa & Middle East and Latin America regions, Barrick’s production in 2021 was in line with guidance for the third successive year. The Company also more than replaced its gold reserves net of depletion at a better grade.
Announcing the annual results, the Company said its reserve replenishment was attributable to continued brownfields exploration success and it was extending its drive for fresh discoveries into new prospective territories. Among other initiatives, it has set up a specialist Asia-Pacific team to identify and evaluate opportunities in that region.
Free cash flow from the operations remained robust and at the year’s end, net cash stood at $130 million after the record cash distribution of $1.4 billion to shareholders. The fourth quarter dividend was increased by 11% to 10 cents per share. Under the Company’s new dividend policy, a base dividend will in future be coupled to a performance dividend linked to the net cash on the balance sheet.1 The Board also approved a share buyback program of up to $1 billion, given our belief that the shares are trading in a price range that does not reflect the value of the Company’s mining and financial assets and future business prospects.
Speaking at the results presentation, president and chief executive Mark Bristow said three years after the Randgold merger, Barrick was clearly achieving its goal of industry-leading value creation and sustainable profitability.
“By any measure, Barrick is clearly the stand-out in its sector. We have what is undoubtedly the best asset base, with six Tier One11 mines, and more waiting in the wings. We have a long record of exploration success and a high-quality target pipeline. In an industry running out of raw material, we keep expanding our reserves. Our strong balance sheet will fund our investment in growth projects. All our mines have 10-year business plans, based not on wishful thinking but on geological understanding, engineering and commercial reality,” he said.
Bristow said Barrick’s 10-year production forecast was based solely on its existing mines and did not take into account the many real growth opportunities that were within its reach. In addition to the potential for further exploration success, the Company is advancing its pipeline of large growth projects, including Donlin Gold, Pascua-Lama and Norte Abierto, while at the same time working on the resumption of operations at Porgera, currently penciled in for July this year. “All Barrick’s mines have earned their social license to operate, and we work hard to maintain them. Sustainability is at the heart of our business, and it’s not a virtue-signaling exercise. Caring about the people and the environments impacted by our operations is a moral imperative, but it also makes good commercial sense, as Barrick’s partnership philosophy has proved time and again. This year we’ll again be publishing a detailed Sustainability Report which, among other things, objectively rates our performance against all critical ESG metrics. We’re in the 95th percentile of the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index and in the top 5% for environmental policy and management, mineral waste management, closure and social impact,” he said.