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Barrick books $393M free cash flow in 'softer' first quarter, announces enhanced dividend

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(Kitco News) - Barrick Gold (TSX: ABX) today reported Q1 2022 production of 1.0 million ounces of gold (Q1 2021: 1.1 Moz) and 101 million pounds of copper (Q1 2021: 93 Mlbs).

Barrick said that, as previously guided, its gold production in 2022 is expected to be the lowest in the first quarter increasing through the year, while copper production is expected to be higher in the second half of the year. The company reiterated that it remains on track to achieve its full year gold and copper guidance.

The company noted that preliminary Q1 gold production was lower than Q4 2021 primarily due to the depletion of stockpiled higher grade underground ore processed in Q4 2021 at Carlin and Cortez after the mechanical mill failure at the Goldstrike roaster in Q2 2021.

The company added that its operating cash flow in Q1 2022 was $1,004 million (Q1 2021: $1,302 million) and free cash flow was $393 million (Q1 2021: $763 million). Net earnings per share were $0.25 (Q1 2021: $0.3) and adjusted net earnings per share were $0.26 (Q1 2021: $0.29).

Importantly, Barrick said that its Board of Directors declared a dividend of $0.20 per share for the first quarter of 2022 that will be paid on June 15, 2022 to shareholders of record at the close of business on May 27, 2022.

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The company noted that this is the first quarterly dividend to include a $0.10 per share performance component in line with its new dividend policy.

President and chief executive Mark Bristow said the company's net cash balance at the end of Q1 2022 stood at $743 million, reflecting cash flow from the operations, the continuing sale of non-core assets, and its share of a further $0.6 billion in cash distributions by Kibali.

Bristow added that as guided earlier, Q1 was a softer quarter, particularly when compared to Q4 of 2021, which included a record-breaking performance from Nevada Gold Mines.

"With a stronger performance expected in the second half of the year, Barrick remains on track to meet its 2022 production guidance," he said.

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