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Mark Bristow believes Barrick's growth plan is 'unique' in gold industry

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(Kitco News) - Barrick (NYSE: GOLD) (TSX: ABX), the world’s second largest gold miner, is projecting a 30% increase in production on the back of the growth options embedded in its asset portfolio, president and chief executive Mark Bristow told the Gold Forum Americas today.

Bristow said that substantial growth in copper production combined with the output from Barrick’s sector-leading gold portfolio was expected to increase the group’s attributable production by some 30% to 6.8 million gold-equivalent ounces by 2031.

“We not only have a sustainable, fully budgeted 10-year base plan, we also have a growth plan that sees us increase production by 30% by the end of the decade, which I believe is unique in our industry,” he said.

To achieve this goal, Barrick plans to grow its copper business while expanding its “best-in-class” gold asset portfolio through “continuing reserve replacement and the potential for new world-class discoveries being pursued across many of the world’s most prolific gold belts.”

The company expects to double its copper production by the end of the decade and continue to increase it to an estimated 450,000 tonnes of copper per annum by 2031.

“In 2019 our strategy for the new Barrick included a mandate to grow our copper business which we recognized as strategically important at that relatively early stage. Once fully ramped up, Reko Diq and Lumwana will rank as two of the world’s top 20 copper mines by annual production sustained over significant multi-decade mine lives. If the forecasts of a copper shortage are even partly correct, this will give us a significant additional upside,” Bristow said.

He added that the clean energy transition is creating an “unprecedented demand” for metals and minerals but the market’s demand for instant gratification is driving M&A, which is not always conducive to investment in sustainable projects but rather the delivery of short-term returns.

“Mining is a long game and it requires long-term vision and investment,” Bristow said.

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