Barrick Gold doubles quarterly earnings despite rising costs

Barrick Gold today announced earnings of US$726 million in Q4 2021 despite seeing costs rise throughout the last 12 months at its gold and copper operations around the world.

Barrick’s earnings in Q4 were more than double the previous quarter and the adjusted earnings per share return of $0.35 beat analyst expectations, allowing the gold giant to institute a share buyback of up to $1 billion.

However, the company witnessed cost inflation in 2021 as the industry endured higher energy costs. All-in sustaining costs (AISC) at Barrick’s gold operations climbed 6.1% on the previous year to $1,026 per ounce, while AISC at its copper assets came in 17.5% higher at $2.62 per pound.

“The gold industry is facing inflation, but that’s good for gold. It is what it is, we have to manage it,” reassured Barrick CEO Mark Bristow in a telephone interview, adding there were “opportunities to mitigate the price increases.”

Nonetheless, the company said it expects AISC to climb again this year to between $1,040-1,120 per ounce of gold.

Over the year, Barrick’s gold production fell by 6.8% to 4.437 million ounces of gold from 4.76 million ounces in 2020. Copper production also fell in 2021 to 415 million pounds, compared with 457 million pounds in the 12 months prior.