2011 marked another successful year for Barrick. Gold production of 7.7 million ounces at total cash costs of $460 per ounce met original guidance as Barrick’s high quality portfolio and effective cost management programs enabled the Company to deliver on its operating targets for the ninth successive year.
As a result of Barrick's positive outlook on the gold price, the Company's strong financial position and robust operating cash flow, Barrick’s Board of Directors authorized an annual dividend increase from $0.48 per common share to $0.60 per common share
in October, 2011. Over the last five years, Barrick has had a consistent track record of returning capital to shareholders, increasing its dividends by more than 170%
on a quarterly basis.
In September 2011, Barrick announced two significant gold discoveries on our 100%-owned Cortez property in Nevada. Further infill drilling between the deposits showed that they merge into a single deposit. Known as Goldrush (formerly known as Red Hill-Goldrush), the deposit is located on highly prospective ground, six kilometers southeast of the Cortez Hills mine and 24 kilometers southeast of the Pipeline mine. A total of 468,000 feet of drilling ($64 million) is planned at Goldrush in 2012 to test the full extent of the mineralized system and further expand and upgrade the resource base and a scoping study has commenced.
In April 2011, Barrick announced an offer to acquire all of the issued and outstanding common shares of Equinox Minerals Limited for an all-cash offer of C$8.15 per share. This strategic, all-cash transaction, was accomplished without issuing equity or diluting our shareholder’s exposure to gold and added two attractive copper assets — Lumwana and Jabal Sayid — to our portfolio.