After several years marked by operational difficulties and debt reduction, Barrick Gold Corp. on Tuesday opened its first quarter earnings in 2018 by telling shareholders it received two credit upgrades and is returning its focus to growth.
Gold production hit 1.05 million ounces this quarter — down 20 per cent from last year and behind pace to meet its annual target of 4.5 to 5 million ounces — but in line with guidance.
Even if it meets that target, years of declining gold production from its peak of 8.6 million ounces in 2006 means that Barrick may lose its title as the world’s largest gold producer to Colorado-based Newmont Mining Corp., which is predicting production of between 4.9 million and 5.4 million ounces this year.
Still, with less than $100 million in debt due before 2020, Barrick executives said the company is shifting to a growth strategy, focusing on Nevada and the Dominican Republic, and will no longer sell assets in order to reduce its billions of dollars in debt.
“We now do not intend to sell further assets for the purpose of debt repayments,” Catherine Raw, chief financial officer told shareholders during an earnings call on Tuesday.