Toronto, Canada — MININGREVIEW.COM — 14 November 2011 – Barrick Gold Corporation “’ the world’s largest producer of the precious metal “’ may buy smaller assets near existing mines in Tanzania as part of its strategy to boost output.
“We will look at such opportunities while also focusing on larger, substantive projects, CEO Aaron Regent said here in an interview at the company’s headquarters.
“It’s almost like a brownfield expansion, if there is a small mine that we discover or potentially acquire near an existing mine, because we can bolt it on to existing infrastructure,” he said.
Regent says Barrick wants a balanced approach to increasing production that includes acquisitions, project development and finding deposits through exploration. World gold supply will remain constrained, even amid rising prices, because few big new deposits have been discovered, he said.
“The industry is going to continue to struggle to maintain supply,” he added. “It might go up a little bit, but then it’s going to come back down.”
Barrick is forecasting its own gold production will be 7.6 to 7.8Moz this year. Output was 7.8Moz in 2010, and the company is targeting annual output of 9Moz within five years.
Barrick increased its copper output with its July purchase of Australia’s Equinox Minerals Limited for US$7.4 billion, which gave it a mine in Zambia and a development project in Saudi Arabia. But that deal hasn’t altered Barrick’s strategy, Regent said.
“We’re really focused on trying to acquire or discover world-class, long-life deposits,” he continued. “When these assets become available, you’ve got to take a real hard look at them.”
It’s unlikely that Barrick will pursue large acquisitions, George Topping, a Toronto-based analyst at Stifel Nicolaus & Company, said in a telephone interview. “I think anything they do would be small,” said Topping, who rates the shares a “buy.”