Barrick Gold's first quarterly results since its merger with Randgold Resources show solid results across the board from the new group, which also reported rapid progress with the integration of the two businesses as well as with the implementation of key strategic initiatives.
While quarter on quarter comparisons are skewed by the merger, group gold production was up 8% in line with guidance, net cash from the operations rose by 27%, net earnings per share increased by 106% to $0.06, adjusted net earnings per share1 increased by 83% to $0.11, and debt, net of cash was down 12% to $3.65 billion. A dividend of $0.04 per share was declared in respect of the first quarter of 2019.
President and CEO Mark Bristow said the key operations had all performed on plan and within guidance. Nevada exceeded plan as the Cortez Hills open pit ramps down, Veladero posted encouraging improvements and Pueblo Viejo progressed its expansion project and benefited from operational efficiencies.
African operations on track
Led by Kibali, the African operations made a good start to the year and the copper operations delivered significant improvements. Key growth projects were on track and greenfields and brownfields exploration were augmenting reserves and identifying new opportunities.
“We have gone a long way towards integrating the organisations, streamlining the processes and ensuring that all the sites have the geological, operational and technical capability to meet their business objectives,” Bristow said.
“We’re also well advanced in establishing our new joint venture with Newmont, which has been named Nevada Gold Mines. The organisational structures are being finalised and we’re working together with Newmont to realise the synergies and cost reduction opportunities offered by the joint venture, which is scheduled for completion by the end of the second quarter.”
Bristow said the assets that did not pass Barrick’s strategic filters had been identified and once optimised would be brought to account in a way that would recognise the importance to the remaining stakeholders with the objective of being well advanced by mid-2020. Management was also dealing with some legacy challenges, including the long stand-off between Acacia and the Tanzanian government.
“Given our solid operational performance for the first quarter, Barrick is on track to deliver against its plans for the year. Considering the shortage of good assets and the industry's underinvestment in its own future we believe we are well positioned as the industry's value leader,” Bristow concluded.