TORONTO, Sep 11, 2003 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Barrick Gold Corporation
(NYSE:ABX) (TSX:ABX) (LSE:ABX) (PARIS:ABX) (Swiss:ABX):
-- Affirms Barrick's positive view on gold
-- Updates market on key corporate objectives
-- Reaffirms outlook for '03 and '04
-- Highlights Barrick's valuation relative to peers
Speaking today at a Toronto investment conference, Barrick CEO and
President Greg Wilkins told investors "it's a good time to be in this
industry," and provided an update on key corporate objectives and the
Company's outlook for 2003 and 2004.
Vision and Strategy
"Gold has been our foundation and remains our focus," Wilkins told
the Merrill Lynch Annual Canadian Mining Conference. "Our goal,"
Wilkins continued, "is to be the global leader in this industry. To
that end, we're going to exploit our strength of size and scale, as
well as our international experience."
Focus on Execution
Underlining the Company's commitment to deliver operationally and
achieve continuous improvement, Wilkins told the gathering: "We're
focused on execution - meeting our targets at our operating mines.
We've done that for the first two quarters of 2003, and we're on track
to meet our targets in the second half of the year."
Affirming that the Company remains on plan to produce between 5.4
and 5.5 million ounces of gold for 2003 at an average cost per ounce
of $190 to $195(1), Wilkins noted that production will likely be about
10% lower next year with costs running about 10% higher, as several of
the Company's key operations, primarily Pierina and Goldstrike, mine
lower grade material. Looking beyond 2004, Wilkins noted that Barrick
should begin to see benefits as the first of the new mines in its
development pipeline come into production in 2005.
Wilkins told the group that amortization for 2003 should run about
$530 million for the full year, with estimates for 2004 of about $500
million. Administration costs are projected to be similar in 2004 to
2003, at approximately $75 million.
On the development front, Wilkins noted that "Barrick's Board has
just approved our Alto Chicama project in Peru, and we're also pushing
ahead at Veladero." With exploration and development now budgeted at
$125 million for 2003, Wilkins underscored that active exploration
programs are underway in all districts in which the Company operates,
adding that "we expect to fund our 2004 exploration and development
effort at approximately $100 million."
"I said when I came in as CEO we'd be working to get the right
people in the right places to get the job done," said Wilkins. "With
the appointment of Peter Kinver, bringing Barrick his wealth of
experience in the industry, we're strengthening our operations
management team, and we'll have our new organizational structure
announced by quarter's end." Wilkins also pledged better
communications to the market, and - noting the long lead times in the
mining industry - a focus on the long-term, "growing out of an
awareness that the decisions we make today affect production, costs
and earnings three and four years out."
On the corporate governance front, Wilkins told the Merrill Lynch
audience that earlier this week the Company's Board of Directors
approved Gustavo Cisneros, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the
Cisneros Group of Companies, as Barrick's newest board member.
Announcing the new appointment, Wilkins praised Cisneros'
"unparalleled investment expertise and business experience in South
America, a region of growing importance to Barrick."
Cisneros will be classified as an independent director under NYSE
and SEC corporate governance standards. "As we've indicated earlier,
we intend to comply voluntarily with the NYSE and SEC rules on board
independence," Wilkins said.
In summary Wilkins conclude: "We will maintain our focus on
exploration and operating our mines as efficiently as possible. At the
same time, we will consider any transaction -- including acquisitions,
joint ventures, or asset rationalizations -- which strengthens our
company, builds shareholder value for the long-term, and takes
advantage of our world class exploration, infrastructure development
and mining expertise."
Noting Barrick's attractive valuation relative to its peers,
Wilkins added that "if we execute at our existing operations, advance
our development pipeline and improve our financial performance, we
should see the result in increased shareholder value."
Barrick is a leading international gold producer with the
industry's only A-rated balance sheet, a portfolio of long-life,
low-cost operations on four continents and proven and probable
reserves of 86.9 million ounces of gold. Barrick's shares are traded
under the ticker symbol ABX on the Toronto, New York, London and Swiss
Stock Exchanges and the Paris Bourse.
(1) For an explanation of non-GAAP performance measures refer to
pages 13-14 of Barrick's Second Quarter 2003 Report.
Certain statements included herein, including those regarding
production and costs and other statements that express management's
expectations or estimates of our future performance, constitute
"forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the United States
Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The words "believe",
"expect", "anticipate", "contemplate", "target", "plan", "intends",
"continue", "budget", "estimate", "may", "will", "schedule", and
similar expressions identify forward-looking statements.
Forward-looking statements are necessarily based upon a number of
estimates and assumptions that, while considered reasonable by
management are inherently subject to significant business, economic
and competitive uncertainties and contingencies. We caution you that
such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks,
uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual financial
results, performance or achievements of Barrick to be materially
different from our estimated future results, performance or
achievements expressed or implied by those forward-looking statements
and our forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future
performance. These risks, uncertainties and other factors include, but
are not limited to: changes in the worldwide price of gold or certain
other commodities (such as silver, copper, diesel fuel and
electricity) and currencies; changes in interest rates or gold lease
rates that could impact realized prices under our forward sales
program; legislative, political or economic developments in the
jurisdictions in which Barrick carries on business; operating or
technical difficulties in connection with mining or development
activities; the speculative nature of gold exploration and
development, including the risks of diminishing quantities or grades
of reserves; and the risks involved in the exploration, development
and mining business. These factors are discussed in greater detail in
Barrick's most recent Form 40-F/Annual Information on file with the
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and Canadian provincial
securities regulatory authorities.
Barrick expressly disclaims any intention or obligation to update
or revise any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new
information, events or otherwise.
SOURCE: Barrick Gold Corporation
Barrick Gold Corporation
Vincent Borg, 416-307-7477
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