The past year marked a major milestone in Barrick’s journey to becoming the world’s most valued gold and copper mining company, with the foundational targets of the new business created by the Merger1 having largely been met, and its greater goals now within reach, says president and chief executive Mark Bristow with the publication of the company’s 2022 annual report today.
“North America is Barrick’s value foundation and the true benefits of our creation of the Nevada Gold Mines complex are now becoming evident in the form of mineral resource growth and new discoveries. The quality and prospectivity of its portfolio cannot be overstated,” he said.
“In Central America the plant expansion project we initiated at the Pueblo Viejo gold mine in the Dominican Republic is rapidly taking shape. With its unlocked reserve base now standing at 20 million ounces2, the life of the mine — one of the six Tier One3 assets in our gold portfolio — has been extended beyond 2040 and it will maintain an average annual production rate above 800,000 ounces over that time4.
“Another of our Tier One assets, the Loulo-Gounkoto complex in Mali, which has produced more than 9 million ounces of gold since 2005, is set to maintain its current rate of production for the next 10 years, with its life extending to 20375.”
Bristow said Barrick was also achieving its strategic objective of significantly expanding its copper holdings. Work on the reconstituted Reko Diq project in Pakistan — one of the largest and highest quality undeveloped copper-gold deposits in the world — has started, and the revitalized Lumwana mine in Zambia has commenced a pre-feasibility study on the Super Pit expansion. When both these projects are completed in 2028 they will elevate Barrick into the front rank of copper producers.
“Brownfields exploration continues to unlock potential around our existing assets while greenfields work has started delivering real value. We’re continuing to expand our global exploration footprint with active programs elsewhere in North America as well as in Latin America, Saudi Arabia and Egypt,” he said.
“One of the highlights of last year was the continued growth in our gold reserves and resources, driven by our strategy of investing in organic growth through exploration and mineral resource management. Barrick’s ability over time to more than replace the ounces we mine reinforces our sustainability and our sector-leading production profile.”
Demonstrating its commitment to strong shareholder returns, Barrick returned a record $1.6 billion6 to shareholders last year but this was not at the expense of its growth strategy, Bristow said.
“We continue to invest in and roll out our 10-year gold and copper plans, projecting real growth on a steady base-case production profile. This investment is made possible by the unmatched quality of our assets and the abundant free cash flow they generate. Also embedded in our portfolio is a long pipeline of quality projects from which we are steadily unlocking value. The ability to grow without having to buy is a very significant advantage that differentiates Barrick from its peers,” he said.
Bristow said in line with Barrick’s commitment to a “best people” workforce it was aggressively recruiting promising young professionals across all the relevant disciplines. The next generation of leaders is already taking shape in the company’s succession plans and last year already saw seamless transitions in a number of key positions.
It is also rapidly progressing the greening of its power grid across the group. Major solar projects in the Dominican Republic and Nevada, the expansion of the solar power and battery energy storage system at Loulo-Gounkoto and the planned solar power dry season back-up for Kibali’s three hydropower plants will not only significantly advance Barrick towards its 2050 net zero target but will improve the mines’ margins by pruning energy costs.
“Sustainability is fundamental to Barrick’s business. We believe that climate risks, poverty and diversity loss are inextricably linked and should be managed holistically. This approach is based on our commitment to supporting the socio-economic development of our host countries and communities. Last year alone we invested $35 million in community development projects,” he said.
Also in the annual report, executive chairman John Thornton noted the significant contribution Barrick’s operations make in the developing countries in which it operates.
“Mining can and should be a key catalyst for economic growth and social upliftment. Barrick’s substantial contribution to our host countries’ coffers and our equally significant investment in the welfare of the communities that border on our mines is making a real difference, highlighting the important part the mining industry can play in narrowing the gap between the richer and poorer nations to make the world a better place,” he said.
Visits:3 Today: 3 Total: 5221089