Higher gold prices give extra shine to Barrick Gold Q1 earnings

Barrick Gold Corp has reported a 5% rise in its first quarter 2018 earnings, reflecting higher prices for gold and lower depreciation.

Prior to adjustments relating to the divestment of a 25% stake in its Cerro Casale project in Chile, Barrick’s net income was $158 million (14 cents per share), a steep drop from the $679 million made in Q1 2017.

However, the Canadian mining giant’s adjusted net earnings revealed a 5% increase to US$170 million, (15 cents per share) compared with $162 million (14 cents per share) in the same quarter one year ago.

This rise in adjusted earnings is largely correlated with increasing gold prices throughout the first three months of 2018, with average spot prices climbing to $1,329 per troy ounce, compared to an average of $1,219 a troy ounce in the prior year quarter.

Like many majors in the resources sector, Barrick has become leaner and cut back its debt by over 50% during the past three years. The world’s largest gold miner by output said it plans to lower its total debt from $6.4 billion to about $5 billion by the end of 2018.

“Our priorities for 2018 are focused on positioning Barrick to grow free cash flow per share over the long term from a portfolio of high-quality, long-life gold assets in the Americas, with an increasing focus on organic growth in Nevada and the Dominican Republic,” said the report.