Barrick on track to cut debt by $3 billion this year

Shares in Barrick Gold (NYSE:ABX, TSE:ABX) rose in after hours trade following the release of strong third quarter financial and operating results that showed positive cash flow and headway in reducing the company's massive debt pile.

The Toronto-based company, the world's top gold mining company in terms of output, announced free cash flow of $866 million, or $256 million excluding the impact of $610 million in proceeds from the Pueblo Viejo streaming transaction, compared to just $26 million in the previous quarter.

Gold production totalled 1.66 million ounces, in line with expectations, at an all-in sustaining costs of $771 per ounce and cash costs of $570 per ounce. Barrick, worth $8.9 billion in New York, expects full-year 2015 gold production to be 6.1-6.3 million ounces (down from original guidance of 6.2 million to 6.6 million) at lower all-in sustaining costs of $830-$870 per ounce, a slight reduction from previous guidance. Total copper guidance for 2015 remains unchanged at 480-520 million pounds.

Barrick has been selling off assets to tackle a debt pile of $13 billion with a target of wiping out $3 billion this year. "Building on $1.9 billion in repayments already completed this year, we intend to use approximately $1 billion in proceeds from the sale of 50 percent of Zaldívar to reduce debt," the company said in a statement.

After the solid quarter, Barrick has less than $250 million in debt due before 2018 and approximately $5 billion of its $11.2 billion in outstanding debt matures after 2032.