Toronto – Barrick’s strategy of investing in organic growth through exploration and mineral resource management more than replaced gold reserves for the second straight year and significantly increased copper resources year on year, providing further support for both the company’s 10-year production forecast and its growth profile.
Announcing Barrick’s results for the 2022 year and Q4, president and chief executive Mark Bristow said the company had always believed that discovering ounces was better than buying them at a premium in a sector where reserves and resources were diminishing.
“Our continued success in not only replenishing but also unlocking significant value in our asset base shows the unmatched potential of our organic growth pipeline,” he said.
Barrick returned a record $1.6 billion to shareholders in 2022 through dividends and share buybacks and has announced a further share buyback program of up to $1 billion for the next twelve months.1 During the past quarter, Moody’s upgraded the company’s long-term corporate credit rating from Baa1 to A3, making Barrick the highest-rated company in the gold mining sector.
A stronger Q4 operational performance, notably from Cortez and Carlin in Nevada, Pueblo Viejo in the Dominican Republic and Tongon in Côte d’Ivoire, contributed to annual gold production of more than 4.1 million ounces2 in a year impacted by infrastructural issues at Turquoise Ridge in Nevada and the replacement of the rock winder at Kibali in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Copper production from Lumwana in Zambia and Jabal Sayid in Saudi Arabia was well within guidance.
In one of the most significant developments of the year, work has started on the development of the massive Reko Diq copper-gold project in the Balochistan province of Pakistan. Reko Diq is expected to double the size of the company’s copper production capacity when it is commissioned in 2028. Barrick owns 50% of the project, and will operate it, with the balance shared by the Government of Balochistan and three Pakistani state-owned enterprises.
Another major project, the expansion of Pueblo Viejo’s process plant and the establishment of a new tailings storage facility, also continued to advance. Bristow noted that despite the presence of over 4,500 additional construction workers on the site, the mill achieved a record throughput for the fourth successive year, with production well within guidance. Reserve growth has added more than 20 years to the life of this Tier One mine.
On the exploration front, drilling across Barrick’s brownfields portfolio has confirmed significant growth potential at Dorothy and Greater Leeville in Nevada, Gara West in Mali, North Mara in Tanzania, and Jabal Sayid in Saudi Arabia. Greenfields exploration continues to deliver new opportunities across Barrick’s expanding global footprint.
“The past year has seen a further deterioration in geopolitics and the dawn of a new era of high inflation, high interest rates and high risk. In this period of global uncertainty, gold outperformed most asset classes. Barrick is the largest gold miner in the United States and in Africa. If you factor in the ounces produced under our management,15 we’re the largest in the world. We’ve been building our copper portfolio and when Reko Diq comes on stream it will lift us into the premier league of copper producers. Given these resources, our proven strategy and our global expertise, I believe the case for investment in Barrick is becoming increasingly compelling,” Bristow said.