NET EARNINGS of US$57 million for Barrick Gold were reported in the company’s first quarter 2015 results, with adjusted net earnings at US$62 million and the company meeting cost and production targets for the quarter.
Operating cash flow was US$316 million and gold production guidance for 2015 remains at between 6.2 million and 6.6 million ounces, with production 55 per cent weighted to the second half of the year, in line with the company’s plan.
Barrick said costs are expected to be 20% lower in the second half of the year, with full year all-in sustaining costs in line with guidance of betweeen US$860 and US$895 per ounce.
Barrick’s Porgera mine produced 118,000 ounces in the first quarter at an all-in sustaining cost of US$1,064 per ounce.
Lower throughput and mill availability impacted production and costs were lower than expected as a result of reduced power and diesel usage and lower sustaining capital.
In 2015, production at Porgera is expected to be 500,000-550,000 ounces at an all-in sustaining cost of between US$1,025 and US$1,125 per ounce.
Barrick said it is evaluating a number of initiatives with the potential to further reduce costs at Porgera, including lowering energy costs through an alternative electricity supply project and reducing the number of expatriate staff and other external spending.
Barrick launched an evaluation in the first quarter of all capital expenditures for 2015 and 2016, with all spending plans re-assessed against the company’s capital allocation objectives, including a minimum hurdle rate of 15% return on invested capital.
Expenditures that do not meet the company’s capital allocation objectives will be cancelled or deferred.
Barrick said it has already identified US$200 million in capital expenditure reductions for 2015, with further reductions expected as it continues to implement the capital allocation framework.
The company remains committed to its debt reduction target of at least $3 billion by the end of 2015, and said it has moved quickly to advance a number of asset sales and joint venture opportunities in relation to this target.
“We have less than US$900 million in debt due over the next three years, a US$4 billion undrawn debt facility, and US$2.3 billion in cash at the end of the first quarter,” Barrick said.