TORONTO (CP) -- Barrick Gold [ABX] reached its 2004 gold production targets and has committed to increasing that output by 40 per cent by 2007, the Toronto-based gold producer said Tuesday.
Barrick said it had gold production in 2004 of 4.96 million ounces at an average total cash cost of $212 per ounce. The company said it expects to increase that output to between 5.4 million and 5.5 million ounces this year at an average total cash cost of $220 to $230 per ounce.
Further, Barrick said it remains committed to its plan to increase production over 2004 levels to between 6.8 million and seven million ounces in 2007.
Production starts this year at three new mines, Lagunas Norte in the Alto Chicama District in Peru, Veladero in the Frontera District in Argentina, and Tulawaka in Tanzania. The three new mines are expected to drive a 10 per cent production increase this year over 2004, with production and cash costs expected to improve in the second half of 2005.
''I'm pleased that we were able to meet our original 2004 production and cost targets during a year of significant cost pressures for the mining industry,'' Barrick president and CEO Greg Wilkins said in a statement. ''Last year's operating performance and the significant progress made on our portfolio of low-operating cost development projects strengthens my belief that we have the best quality assets in the gold industry.''
Barrick also announced Tuesday that it has reached an agreement with the Peruvian government regarding the Lagunas Norte mine which ''will provide certainty'' on foreign exchange, real estate taxes, custom duties and other matters for 15 years.
Barrick made $146 million US in 2003 on revenues of more than $2 billion. Fourth-quarter and full 2004 results won't be released until Feb. 17, but the company reported in October that it made $92 million US on revenue of $1.4 billion in the first nine months of last year.
News of Barrick's 2004 production totals was released after stock markets had closed. In Tuesday trading, its shares (TSX:ABX) fell 53 cents to close at $27.42 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
(c) The Canadian Press 2005