Barrick’s gold production continues to trail estimates

Pueblo Viejo is operated by a joint venture between Barrick and Newmont. (Image courtesy of Barrick Gold.)

Canadian miner Barrick Gold on Tuesday reported lower-than-expected preliminary gold production for the first quarter hurt by planned maintenance at its mines.

Barrick reported a total preliminary output of 940,000 ounces of gold in the three months ended March 31, below analysts’ estimates of 984,000 ounces, according to LSEG data.

The world’s second-largest gold miner was unable to beat production estimates in 2023.

Toronto-listed shares of the firm were down 5.9% in early morning trade, while its US-listed shares fell 5.8%.

Barrick expects all-in-sustaining costs (AISC) per ounce of gold, an industry metric that reflects total expenses, to be about 7% to 9% higher than the previous quarter.

Miners, including First Quantum in Panama and platinum and palladium miners in Africa, have run into a spate of operational and labor troubles, leading to higher costs and production halts.

Barrick’s Porgera gold mine in Papua New Guinea had been shuttered since 2020, but restarted operations late into the first quarter.

The company expects gold and copper production to increase through the year, with its Pueblo Viejo gold mine in the Dominican Republic ramping up from the second quarter.

“Recent higher pricing (in gold) is forecast to be a tailwind going forward. Results, in our view, support Barrick’s existing base dividend being paid and no additional bonus variable payments,” said RBC Capital Markets analyst Josh Wolfson.

Spot gold was down 0.4%, but prices of the precious metal have increased by about 8.2% in the January-March quarter on safe-haven demand.

Preliminary copper production came in at 40,000 tonnes, down from 113 million pounds (51,255.94 tonnes) in the previous quarter, largely due to lower grades mined at Barrick’s Lumwana mine in Zambia.

AISC for the red metal, widely used in power, construction and transportation sectors, is expected to rise by 14% to 16% from the previous quarter.

The Toronto, Canada-based company is scheduled to release its first-quarter results on May 1, 2024.

(By Vallari Srivastava and Seher Dareen; Editing by Tasim Zahid)

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