Barrick making plans for $900 an ounce gold price

Golden glow. John Thornton, executive chairman of Barrick Gold.

UPDATE: Barrick comments on planning for $900 gold price

Shares of Barrick Gold Corporation (NYSE:ABX)(TSX:ABX) slid further after hours after falling nearly 4% in regular trading on Wednesday after the gold miner, the world’s largest in terms of output, cut its dividend by 60% despite reporting a narrower second quarter loss.

Barrick’s market value is down 50% over the last three months and is now worth some $8 billion in New York. That compares to a $64 billion capitalization when gold was at $1,900 in 2011.

Barrick cuts its gold production forecast to between 6.1m – 6.4m ounces as it disposes of assets including 50% of its Zaldivar copper mine in Chile for $1 billion, the Cowal mine in Australia for $550 million in cash and $298 million for its Porgera mine to tackle its crippling debt-load of more than $13 billion.

The company announced additional disposals on Wednesday announcing that in the next few weeks, it will start a process to sell its Bald Mountain, Round Mountain, Spring Valley, Ruby Hill, Hilltop and Golden Sunlight assets in Nevada and Montana.

Other notable features of the quarter and outlook include further cost and capex cuts, but the $250 million debt reduction is some way off Mr Thornton’s target of $3 billion in 2015.

  • Company reported a net loss of $9 million ($0.01 per share) in the second quarter; adjusted net earnings were $60 million($0.05 per share).
  • Free cash flow was $26 million and operating cash flow was $525 million.
  • Production in the second quarter was 1.45 million ounces of gold at all-in sustaining costs (AISC) of $895 per ounce.
  • Full-year gold production is now expected to be 6.1-6.4 million ounces, reflecting the impact of asset sales.
  • All-in sustaining cost guidance for 2015 has been reduced to $840-$880 per ounce.
  • Total debt reduced by approximately $250 million in first half.
  • $2.45 billion in asset sales and joint ventures announced to date.
  • Targeting $2 billion in reduced expenditures across the company by the end of 2016.
  • Capital and other expenditures reduced by $240 million in the second quarter.
  • Lowered quarterly dividend to two cents per share.
  • Scenario planning completed for gold prices down to $900 per ounce.
  • On track to achieve approximately $50 million in G&A cost savings in 2015, exceeding original $30 million target for the year. Targeting $90 million in annualized savings in 2016, up from original target of $70 million.
  • Completed Preliminary Economic Assessments on projects with the potential to significantly extend mine life at Lagunas Norte and Pueblo Viejo.

The scenario planning for a $200 an ounce fall in the price of gold include even more divestments and these strategies:

  • Adjust life-of-mine plans to maximize short-term free cash flow
  • Place higher-cost operations on temporary care and maintenance
  • Defer stripping activities
  • Close or divest mines that do not meet capital allocation objectives
  • Increase cut-off grades
  • Reduce mining/processing rates
  • Further reduce G&A and exploration
  • Further reduce sustaining capital
  • Process higher-grade stockpiles