TORONTO – Barrick Gold Corp. released an upbeat preliminary production report Thursday, saying the company’s fourth quarter gold sales and production were higher than third quarter levels largely as a result of a strong performance from Nevada Gold Mines, in particular Turquoise Ridge.
“A strong fourth quarter capped off an excellent first year since the merger with Randgold at the beginning of 2019,” Barrick’s release said.
Barrick’s production numbers for Nevada Gold Mines show the company’s 61.5 percent share of the joint venture. Newmont Corp. owns the other 38.5 percent of the joint venture, and Newmont’s production numbers will be released at a later date.
The Nevada Gold Mines joint venture went into effect July 1, 2019.
Barrick’s preliminary numbers say the company’s share of Nevada Gold Mines will produce 585,000 ounces of gold in the fourth quarter of 2019, up from 535,000 ounces in the third quarter. Barrick’s Nevada Gold Mines operations produced a total of 2.22 million ounces of gold in 2019.
Nevada Gold Mines produced a total of 870,000 ounces of gold in the third quarter of 2019, and based on Barrick’s preliminary numbers, the joint venture may produce a total of 951,000 ounces in the fourth quarter. That’s an increase of 9 percent, and is approaching 1 million ounces.
The preliminary numbers for Barrick’s share of gold production at each of the mines in the joint venture for the fourth quarter of 2019, the third quarter of 2019, and for the entire year, in ounces, are:
— Carlin, including Goldstrike and Nevada Gold Mine’s 60 percent equity share of South Arturo: 276,000; 278,000; 968,000
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— Cortez: 133,000; 126,000; 801,000
— Turquoise Ridge, including Twin Creeks: 111,000; 82,000; 335,000
— Long Canyon: 34,000; 24,000; 58,000
— Phoenix: 31,000; 25,000; 56,000
Barrick’s share in the Turquoise Ridge production went up from 82,000 ounces in the third quarter of 2019 to 111,000 ounces in the fourth quarter, an increase of 35 percent. Turquoise Ridge’s total production went up from 133,000 ounces in the third quarter to an estimated 180,000 ounces in the fourth quarter.
Barrick said its preliminary fourth quarter results indicate the company has met its full-year guidance targets with total gold production of 5.5 million ounces, at the upper end of the 5.1 to 5.6 million ounce range, and total copper production of 432 million pounds, exceeding the top-end of guidance of 375 to 430 million pounds.
The preliminary fourth quarter results show fourth quarter sales of 1.41 million ounces of gold and 91 million pounds of copper. Preliminary fourth quarter production was 1.44 million ounces of gold, up 14 percent from 1.26 million ounces in the 2018 quarter; and 117 million pounds of copper, up 7 percent from 109 million pounds in the 2018 quarter.
The average market price for gold in the fourth quarter was $1,481 per ounce, while the average market price for copper in the fourth quarter was $2.67 per pound.
The price of gold went from about $1,278.30 on Dec. 31, 2018 to $1,519.90 on Dec. 31, 2019, an increase of about 19 percent.
Barrick said it expected a quarter-over-quarter decrease in gold total cash costs per ounce and all-in sustaining costs per ounce of approximately 1 to 3% and 6 to 8%, respectively.