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Barrick Gold: 1Q output on pace to meet 2020 guidance

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(Kitco News) - First-quarter gold and copper production left Barrick Gold Corp. (NYSE: GOLD; TSX: ABX) on pace to meet its 2020 guidance, the company announced Thursday.

The senior gold producer listed preliminary January-March production of 1.25 million ounces of gold and 115 million pounds of copper.

The tallies were down from the results posted in Barrick’s fourth-quarter earnings report, which included 1.44 million pounces of gold and 117 million pounds of copper.

Sales in the first quarter were 1.22 million ounces of gold and 110 million pounds of copper, Barrick said.

After one quarter, the results positioned Barrick to achieve its production guidance for the year despite the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic and a number of lockdowns, said Mark Bristow, president and chief executive officer. Barrick’s websitse puts full-year production guidance at between 4.8 million and 5.2 million ounces of gold and between 440 million and 500 million pounds of copper.

Bristow added that the company has undertaken a number of programs at all operations aimed at halting the spread of COVID-19 as well as managing the impact of the pandemic on its business.

The average market price for gold in the first quarter was $1,583 per ounce, while the average market price for copper was $2.56 per pound, Barrick said. However, the company’s first-quarter realized copper price is expected to be 12-14% below the average market price, primarily as a result of provisional pricing adjustments that reflect the downward trend in copper prices over the period, the company said.

Barrick said it expects first-quarter gold costs to be similar to the fourth quarter, but for copper costs to be lower primarily due to an increase in copper sales. Copper output was in line with the fourth quarter, but sales improved following completion of a major refurbishment at a third-party smelter that processes a portion of Lumwana’s concentrate, Barrick said. First-quarter copper cost of sales per pound are expected to be 12-14% lower than the prior quarter, while copper all-in sustaining costs are expected to be 27% to 29% lower.

The company will release more details and analysis when it reports quarterly financial results on May 6.

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