|ORO Y PLATA INTERNACIONAL S.A.
2006 a banner year for Barrick Gold
2/05/07. Barrick Gold Corp. reported a net income of $1.51 billion and
operating cash flow of $2.21 billion for 2006.
Earnings and cash flow per share rose 136 and 84 percent, respectively,
over 2005 levels.
Earnings in 2006 were reduced by $211 million post-tax by special items.
Fourth quarter 2006 earnings were $418 million, compared with $175
million in the year-earlier period.
Fourth quarter 2006 earnings were reduced by $28 million by special items.
Operating cash flow for fourth quarter 2006 was $337 million, compared
with $269 million in the year-earlier period, due to increased
production and higher gold prices, offset by the voluntary delivery of 1.0
million ounces of corporate gold sales contracts resulting in a reduction of
operating cash flow of $327 million.
For the year, Barrick's results benefited from a 58 percent increase in gold
production, a 23 percent higher realized gold price and strong financial
results from its copper mines.
Greg Wilkins, president and CEO, said that ᅓ� was a banner year for
Barrick. We saw payback from our activities of the last few years, in
particular the Placer Dome acquisition, and a full year's production from
the new generation of mines translate into record financial results.
“Looking forward, the company is well positioned and leveraged to benefit
in a rising gold-price environment.”
Production and costs
Full year production and 8.64 million ounces of gold at total cash costs of
$282 per ounce and 367 million pounds of copper at total cash costs of
$0.79 per pound, which Barrick said met its original production and cash
cost guidance for both gold and copper.
This is the fourth straight year that Barrick has met its operating guidance,
which, it said, demonstrates both its ability to deliver on its targets and the
success of its cost-containment initiatives, despite escalating cost
In fourth quarter 2006, Barrick sold 2.28 million ounces of gold at total cash
costs of $287 per ounce, compared with 1.65 million ounces sold at total
cash costs of $221 per ounce for the prior-year quarter.
The fourth quarter benefited from strong contributions from the North
America and South America business units, particularly at Lagunas Norte,
which produced 1.1 million ounces of gold at total cash costs of $100 per
ounce in is first full year of operations.
The Australia Pacific business unit's operating performance in the fourth
quarter was below expectations, in part due to a lightning strike at the
electrical facilities of the Porgera mine.
Production levels have been curtailed by 50 percent, but are expected to
return to full levels by the end of the first quarter 2007.
Gold production from the Africa business unit included
solid performances from the Tanzanian mines and production and cash
costs for South Deep through to its sale date of Dec. 1.
Full-year copper production exceeded the company's original guidance,
due to better-than-expected grades at Zaldivar.
Reserves and resources
At year-end 2006, Barrick had proven and probable gold reserves of 123
million ounces, based on a $475-per-ounce gold price. The company also
reported gold mineral resources (measured and indicated) of 35 million
ounces and inferred resources of 25 million ounces based on a $525-per-
ounce gold price.
Silver and copper contained in Barrick's gold reserves at year end 2006
were 964 million ounces and 1.1 billion pounds, respectively.
Silver is primarily derived from the Pascua-Lama deposit, one of
the largest silver deposits in the world, which contains 689 million ounces
Barrick's copper reserves totaled 6.0 billion pounds, with an additional 6.6
billion pounds of measured and indicated resources, the company said.
The company sold its 50 percent interest in the South Deep mine in South
Africa to Gold Fields Ltd. for total consideration of $1.5 billion, including
$1.2 billion in cash and the balance in Gold Fields shares. This resulted
in a gain on sale of $288 million.
Barrick increased its equity interest in Highland Gold from 20 to 34 percent
by contributing certain Russian assets and recorded a gain on this
transaction of $51 million.
The company concluded its offer by NovaGold, acquiring a 14.8 percent
interest for cash of $218 million.
During fourth quarter 2006, Barrick reduced its fixed price corporate gold
sales contract position by 1.0 million ounces and incurred a pre-tax
opportunity cost of $327 million against its gold sales.
For the full year, Barrick reduced its fixed price committed gold sales
contracts by 9.4 million ounces, including the elimination of the legacy
Placer Dome gold hedge position.
As of Feb. 21, 2007, the company had completely eliminated its fixed price
corporate gold sales contract position, more than two years ahead of its
previously announced target date.
Barrick said it plan to eliminate the remaining floating spot price contracts
by the end of the second quarter. As a result of these deliveries, the
company expects to incur an after-tax opportunity cost of $564 million in
the first quarter of 2007 and $65 million in the second period.
“Barrick is very positive on the long-term outlook for gold,” Wilkins said.
“The elimination of all non-project-related hedge contracts allows the
company to benefit fully from higher gold prices at its operating mines.”
In October 2006, Barrick issued $1.0 billion of copper-linked notes
that took advantage of high copper prices and are repayable in the dollar
equivalent of 324 million pounds of copper.
The issuance secured an average price of $3.08 per pound on about 30
percent of expected copper production over the next three years,
combined with 10- and 30-year maturities.
Barrick said it has the strongest credit rating in the gold industry; its cash
balance stands at $3.0 billion and net debt totals $1.1 billion.
Barrick said it expects 2007 gold production of 8.1 million - 8.4 million
ounces and copper production of about 400 million pounds.
Total cash costs are expected to be in the range of $335 - $350 per ounce
for gold and about $0.90 per pound for copper.
Gold production is expected to be slightly weighted to the second half of