TORONTO, ONTARIO, Feb 22, 2007 (MARKET WIRE via COMTEX News Network) -- All currencies expressed in US dollars
Barrick Gold Corporation (NYSE: ABX)(TSX: ABX)(LSE: BGD) announced today it has begun to harvest opportunities from a project pipeline unparalleled in the gold mining industry. The Company considerably advanced technical reviews and updated the investment community on its extensive pipeline of gold projects, advanced exploration properties, as well as additional joint venture projects for platinum group metals and nickel.
"The combination of our quality assets, depth of our project pipeline and exploration portfolio, demonstrated development expertise and financial strength positions Barrick to deliver significant value in the years ahead. At a time when discoveries are scarce and new projects rare within the gold industry, no other gold company has a comparable pipeline," said Greg Wilkins, President and CEO, at a special presentation at the Company's 'Investor Day' in Toronto.
Barrick has a balanced geo-political risk profile and a development strategy focused on generating value in highly prospective regions. Many of the Company's projects are located near existing operations where they can benefit from infrastructure and synergies related to processing, personnel and community development programs.
"The 2006 acquisition of Placer Dome further deepened the Barrick project pipeline," added Mr. Wilkins. "We now have the flexibility to sequence the development of our projects and optimize their designs, maximizing value for our shareholders."
Barrick's new projects will build upon the new generation of mines that the Company successfully brought into production in the past two years (Tulawaka, Tanzania, Q1 2005; Lagunas Norte, Peru, Q2 2005; Veladero, Argentina, Q3 2005; and Cowal, Australia, Q2 2006). The Company announced on February 20, 2007, that gold was poured at its newest mine, Ruby Hill in Nevada. It is expected to produce about 120,000 ounces in 2007 at total cash costs in the range of $240 to $250 per ounce for 2007. Construction cost at Ruby Hill was below its estimate.
Barrick's new pipeline of projects includes the following:
Cortez Hills, Nevada, USA
- A Contributor to Barrick's Nevada Production Base
(Barrick 60%; Kennecott 40%)
The Cortez Joint Venture (including Pipeline and Cortez Hills) has proven and probable gold reserves of 11.2 million ounces (100% basis).(1) Located next to the existing Cortez Pipeline mine on the Battle Mountain trend and 60 miles south of Barrick's flagship Goldstrike property, Cortez Hills is expected to be a significant contributor to Barrick's quality Nevada production base. Cortez Hills' average annual production (100% basis) is expected to be about 425,000 - 440,000 ounces of gold at total cash costs of $290 - $300 an ounce in the first ten years. Cortez Hills ore will be processed at the existing Cortez Pipeline mine facility. Estimated capital costs are between $480-500 million (100% basis), excluding capitalized interest.
- During 2007, Barrick plans to conduct 200,000 feet of exploration drilling to follow up on 2006 high grade intercepts, advance detailed engineering and procure a mining equipment fleet. Currently in the permitting stage, construction is anticipated to start following approval and receipt of the Record of Decision, expected in 2008.
- Cortez Hills is part of Barrick's highly prospective land position in Nevada and has a remarkable geological similarity to the Goldstrike property.
- A Capital-Intensive/Low Operating Cost Gold/Silver Mine for 20+ years
Pascua-Lama has proven and probable reserves of 17.0 million ounces of gold, and contains 689 million ounces of silver, and 565 million pounds of copper, within the gold reserves.(2) It has an estimated life of 23 years. Located on the border of Argentina and Chile, this project will benefit from existing infrastructure, processing, staffing, and community development programs at Barrick's Veladero mine, within ten kilometers.
- Pascua-Lama's average annual production in the first five years is expected to be 750,000-775,000 ounces of gold and 35 million ounces of silver at total cash costs of $40-50 per ounce of gold. Life-of-mine annual production is expected to average about 600,000 ounces of gold and 23 million ounces of silver at total cash costs of $130-160 per ounce of gold. An open pit mine, the processing facilities envision a 45,000 ton per day processing facility. The updated capital cost estimate is $2.3-2.4 billion (excluding capitalized interest), an increase from the 2004 estimate of $1.4-1.5 billion reflecting design improvements, changes and inflationary pressures affecting the mining industry. While the capital required is higher, operating costs have been reduced from the 2004 estimate of $90-100 per ounce to $40-50 for the first five years. Pascua-Lama's costs are expected to be near the bottom of the operating cost curve for the industry.
- Barrick obtained approval of the Environmental Impact Assessment from Chile in February 2006 and from Argentina in December 2006, following a comprehensive evaluation by the respective authorities and stakeholders. Barrick will comply with the Chilean approval and protect the icefields; as a result, gold reserves have been reduced by approximately one million ounces from 2005 levels. In 2007, Barrick will focus on completing the permitting process, resolving outstanding fiscal issues, and exploring additional promising targets in the Frontera district.
- A 10-Year-Plus Producer Close to Infrastructure
Buzwagi has proven and probable reserves of 2.64 million ounces of gold and contains 118 million pounds of copper within the gold reserves;(3) the estimated mine life is 10 years. Its close proximity to Barrick's Bulyanhulu and Tulawaka operations brings significant synergies, including shared infrastructure, personnel, training and equipment. Buzwagi's average annual production is expected to be 240,000-250,000 ounces of gold at total cash costs of $280-290 per ounce of gold. Capital costs are expected to be approximately $400 million (excluding capitalized interest).
- In 2006, Barrick completed a positive feasibility study for Buzwagi, along with 40 per cent of the project's detailed engineering plans. It conducted 200,000 meters of exploration drilling on the property, and identified further targets.
- Barrick announced today that the Mineral Development Agreement was recently approved and expects approval from the Republic of Tanzania of the project's Environmental Impact Assessment shortly. All outstanding permits, along with detailed engineering are expected to be completed by mid-2007. Construction is targeted to occur over approximately two years.
Pueblo Viejo, Dominican Republic
- World Class Deposit with Multi-Metal Benefits
(Barrick 60%/Goldcorp 40%)
Proven and probable gold reserves at Pueblo Viejo have increased to 18.1 million (100% basis) from 13.4 million ounces as a result of successful exploration drilling.(4) As a result of Barrick's thorough review of Placer Dome's plans, Pueblo Viejo has significant amounts of zinc (2.6 billion pounds), copper (358 million pounds) and silver (88 million ounces) contained within the gold reserves. The mine life is currently estimated to be approximately 20 years. Located in the Dominican Republic, about 100 kilometers northwest of Santo Domingo, Pueblo Viejo is expected to have average annual life-of-mine production of between 575,000-600,000 ounces of gold at total cash costs of $285-295 per ounce of gold. Updated estimated capital costs are in the range of $2.1-2.3 billion (100 per cent basis) (excluding capitalized interest), up from Placer Dome's 2005 estimate of $1.35 billion, reflecting additions such as new recovery circuits for zinc, copper and silver, and other scope changes to add value, project enhancements and accounting for inflationary pressures.
- On the basis of Barrick's 2006 successful exploration program of 13,000 meters, 2007 plans call for drilling aimed at stepping out and expanding the two pits in order to further expand reserves and resources.
- Barrick announced today that Pueblo Viejo has recently received the approval of the Envirionmental Impact Assessment for the mine facility. The approval needs to be updated to include recovery of the other metals. Discussions will commence with the government to secure a low cost source of power; basic engineering will be conducted through the course of 2007 and work will begin on detailed engineering plans and applications for outstanding permits. The joint venture must notify the government by February 2008 if it intends to proceed with construction of the project.
Donlin Creek, Alaska, USA
- Feasibility Study on Track
(Barrick 30% with a right to earn up to 70%; NovaGold: 70%/30%)
Donlin Creek's measured and indicated gold resources have increased from 14.8 million to 19.8 million ounces of gold (100% basis) by conversion of inferred ounces following 2006 drilling results.(5) Inferred resources have been reduced to 1.6 million ounces from 13.6 million as a result of conversion to measured and indicated resources, reinterpretation of geology and changes in economic assumptions. Results from about one half of the 42,000 meters of drilling completed in late 2006 have not yet been evaluated and therefore are not reflected in current resource estimates. Donlin Creek is located about 450 kilometers northwest of Anchorage.
In 2006, approximately $55 million was expended to complete 92,800 meters of infill drilling. Work on the feasibility study is progressing well for completion in November 2007 and envisions optimum tonnage at 50,000 tons per day, conventional mining from two open pits and a strip ratio of 6:1.
- For 2007, $87 million will be invested to complete the feasibility study and to conduct 70,000 meters of additional infill and in-pit drilling. The anticipated construction timetable, once permitting is completed, is about two and a half years.
Reko Diq- Pakistan
- An Expanding and Significant Copper/Gold Mineral Resource
(Barrick 37.5%; Antofagasta 37.5%; Baluchistan Development Authority 25%)
Reko Diq has measured and indicated mineral resources of approximately 9.6 million ounces of gold and 15.1 billion pounds of copper, and inferred resources of 11.7 million ounces of gold and 11.5 billion pounds of copper (100 percent basis).(6) The proportionate amounts are reported for the first time in Barrick's mineral resources. Reko Diq is located in Baluchistan province in southwest Pakistan, in a remote and sparsely populated area.
- An aggressive exploration program of 25,000 meters was conducted in 2006 and approximately 70,000 meters are planned for 2007. During 2007, the partners will complete a scoping study to examine potential parameters that would lead to a feasibility study.
- The orebody is open at depth in the western porphyries below the current resource estimate and exploration potential is considered significant.
Sedibelo, South Africa
- A Promising PGM Property in the Heart of the Leading PGM Belt
(Barrick earning interest up to 50%; Bakgatla Ba-Kgafela Community)
Sedibelo is a Platinum Group Metals (PGM) deposit, with platinum measured and indicated mineral resources of 3.8 million ounces and inferred resources of 5.3 million ounces, and palladium measured and indicated mineral resources of 1.7 million and inferred resources of 2.5 million ounces (100% basis).(7) Sedibelo is located in South Africa about 200 kilometers from Johannesburg on the Bushveld Complex, which contains 80 per cent of the world's platinum reserves.
Barrick has completed 100,000 meters of drilling in the area over the past two years. In 2007, the Company is planning on spending $26 million on exploration and completing a pre-feasibility study. With only 40 per cent of the property explored, drilling is on-going to confirm additional targets. Barrick's community partnership exceeds requirements under South Africa's Black Economic Empowerment program.
- Substantial Growing Resource
(Barrick 50% with a right to earn up to 79%; CJCS/CEM 50%)
Federova is a Platinum Group Metals (PGM) project with platinum measured and indicated mineral resources of 0.5 million ounces and inferred resource of 0.6 million ounces and palladium measured and indicated resource of 2.1 million ounces and inferred resource of 2.6 million ounces (100% basis.)(8) It is located in the northwest of Russia in the Murmansk region that borders Finland and has excellent regional infrastructure. The site is 150 kilometers from a PGM smelter, and is close to Apatity, a major mining center.
In 2007, Barrick plans to spend approximately $30 million for drilling and completion of the pre-feasibility study for this large near-surface deposit. Barrick is the operator and currently has a 50 percent interest in Federova and has the right to earn another 29 percent by the end of 2007.
- A World Class Nickel Sulphide Deposit with High Tonnage and Grade
(Barrick 50%; Xstrata 50%)
Kabanga is located in northwest Tanzania and is a world class nickel sulfide deposit - reminiscent of Voisey's Bay. Updated estimates of measured and indicated resources stand at 9.7 million tonnes of indicated resources at a nickel grade of 2.37 per cent and 36.3 million tonnes of inferred resources at a nickel equivalent grade of 2.8 per cent (100% basis.)(9)
Barrick acquired the Kabanga nickel exploration property with its acquisition of Sutton Resources in 1999. It has since proved up a significant mineral resource and through an equal joint venture partnership (Falconbridge and now Xstrata as the operator) has further increased the value of this deposit with a compelling combination of high tonnage and very good grade. Xstrata recently committed $95 million to advance the development engineering through completion of the project's feasibility study. A full feasibility study is expected to be completed by the latter part of 2008.
Focus on Leverage to Gold Strategy
In outlining the company's strategy, CEO Greg Wilkins said: "While Barrick's focus is on being the world's best gold mining company, our exploration program and acquisitions have added opportunities with silver, copper, platinum, and other metals, often in combination with gold."
"These other metals have the potential to generate valuable cash flow to fund our core business. A good example is our current operation at Zaldivar, which is an excellent, quality copper mine. Last year, we issued copper bonds, raising US$1 billion to further strengthen our balance sheet and assist in the funding of our project pipeline."
Barrick continues its on-going commitment to exploration with a global team of geoscientists using advanced geological techniques to identify and assess deposits. Barrick expects to invest $170 million in drilling and exploration activities during 2007. The geographic distribution is as follows: North America ($69 million); Australia Pacific ($49 million); South America ($29 million); and Africa ($23 million).
Financial Strength and Prudent Management to Deliver Results
"Barrick has great opportunities combined with a disciplined approach to allocating our capital," said Jamie Sokalsky, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. "Financial strength is a hallmark of the company, and Barrick is known to be financially prudent. This is why Barrick appeals to investors who want a well managed gold company with a focus on increasing shareholder value and providing leverage to gold prices."
Barrick has the gold mining industry's only A-rated balance sheet which gives the company the ability to finance significant, long-life mining projects - without the need to issue equity. Mr. Sokalsky added: "The supplementary-metals projects provide an opportunity to unlock additional shareholder value, often partnering with other world class companies to develop these projects."
Summarizing Barrick's current competitive position in the industry and its valuation, Mr. Sokalsky said: "Given that we are trading at a discount to our peers on many financial metrics, Barrick is a value opportunity."
Given the latent value in our portfolio of projects, the Company believes it should be the senior gold equity of choice for investors. With the elimination of its fixed price corporate sales hedge book, Barrick has tremendous leverage to gold prices.
"Our outlook for gold is very positive and the gold price is being driven by multiple dynamics," added Mr. Wilkins.
Earlier today, Barrick announced record financial results, an overall increase in proven and probable gold mineral reserves to 123.1 million ounces from 88.6 million ounces for Barrick as at year end 2005, copper reserves of 6.0 billion pounds of copper, and the elimination of its fixed price corporate sales book (excluding contracts assigned to projects).(10) For 2007, the Company is targeting production of 8.1-8.4 million ounces of gold at total cash costs of $335-350 an ounce - with almost 40 percent of the Company's gold production expected to come from North America - and 400 million pounds of copper at a cost of about $0.90 per pound.
(For further information on 2006 results or Investor Day slide presentation, please go to: www.barrick.com.)
Barrick's vision is to be the world's best gold company by finding, acquiring, developing and producing quality reserves in a safe, profitable and socially responsible manner.
CAUTIONARY STATEMENT ON FORWARD-LOOKING INFORMATION
Certain information contained or incorporated by reference in this press release, including any information as to our future financial or operating performance, constitutes "forward-looking statements". All statements, other than statements of historical fact, are forward-looking statements. 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 us, are inherently subject to significant business, economic and competitive uncertainties and contingencies. Known and unknown factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements. Such factors include, but are not limited to: fluctuations in the currency markets (such as Canadian and Australian dollars, South African rand, Chilean Peso and Papua New Guinean kina versus US dollar); fluctuations in the spot and forward price of gold and copper or certain other commodities (such as silver, diesel fuel and electricity); changes in US dollar interest rates or gold lease rates that could impact the mark-to-market value of outstanding derivative instruments and ongoing payments/receipts under interest rate swaps and variable rate debt obligations; risks arising from holding derivative instruments (such as credit risk, market liquidity risk and mark-to-market risk); changes in national and local government legislation, taxation, controls, regulations and political or economic developments in Canada, the United States, Dominican Republic, Australia, Papua New Guinea, Chile, Peru, Argentina, South Africa, Tanzania, Russia, Pakistan or Barbados or other countries in which we do or may carry on business in the future; business opportunities that may be presented to, or pursued by, us; our ability to successfully integrate acquisitions; operating or technical difficulties in connection with mining or development activities; employee relations; litigation; the speculative nature of exploration
and development, including the risks of obtaining necessary licenses and permits; diminishing quantities or grades of reserves; adverse changes in our credit rating; and contests over title to properties, particularly title to undeveloped properties. In addition, there are risks and hazards associated with the business of exploration, development and mining, including environmental hazards, industrial accidents, unusual or unexpected formations, pressures, cave-ins, flooding and gold bullion or copper cathode losses (and the risk of inadequate insurance, or inability to obtain insurance, to cover these risks). Many of these uncertainties and contingencies can affect our actual results and could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in any forward-looking statements made by, or on behalf of, us. Readers are cautioned that forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance. All of the forward-looking statements made in this press release are qualified by these cautionary statements. Specific reference is made to Barrick's Year End Report 2006 and its most recent Form 40-F/Annual Information Form on file with the SEC and Canadian provincial securities regulatory authorities for a discussion of some of the factors underlying forward-looking statements.
We disclaim any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except to the extent required by applicable laws.
(1) Calculated as at December 31, 2006 in accordance with National Instrument 43-101 as required by Canadian securities regulatory authorities. For United States reporting purposes, Industry Guide 7, (under the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934), as interpreted by Staff of the SEC, applies different standards in order to classify mineralization as a reserve. Accordingly, for U.S. reporting purposes, 1.88 million ounces of the Cortez reserve is classified as mineralized material. For a breakdown of reserves and resources by category and additional information relating to reserves and resources, see pages 111-116 of Barrick's Year End Report 2006.
(2) Calculated as at December 31, 2006 in accordance with National Instrument 43-101 as required by Canadian securities regulatory authorities. For a breakdown of reserves and resources by category and additional information relating to reserves and resources, see pages 111-116 of Barrick's Year End Report 2006.
(3) Calculated as at December 31, 2006 in accordance with National Instrument 43-101 as required by Canadian securities regulatory authorities. For United States reporting purposes, Industry Guide 7, (under the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934), as interpreted by Staff of the SEC, applies different standards in order to classify mineralization as a reserve. Accordingly, for U.S. reporting purposes, Buzwagi is classified as mineralized material. For a breakdown of reserves and resources by category and additional information relating to reserves and resources, see pages 111-116 of Barrick’s Year End Report 2006.
(4) Calculated as at December 31, 2006 in accordance with National Instrument 43-101 as required by Canadian securities regulatory authorities. For United States reporting purposes, Industry Guide 7, (under the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934), as interpreted by Staff of the SEC, applies different standards in order to classify mineralization as a reserve. Accordingly, for U.S. reporting purposes, Pueblo Viejo is classified as mineralized material. For a breakdown of reserves and resources by category and additional information relating to reserves and resources, see pages 111-116 of Barrick'sYear End Report 2006.
(5) Calculated as at December 31, 2006 in accordance with National Instrument 43-101 as required by Canadian securities regulatory authorities. For a breakdown of reserves and resources by category and additional information relating to reserves and resources, see pages 111-116 of Barrick's Year End Report 2006.
(6) Gold and copper resource estimates for Reko Diq have been prepared by employees and consultants of Tethyan Copper Company Limited ("Tethyan") in accordance with the JORC Code. For additional information related to Reko Diq resources reported by Tethyan, including related assumptions, see Tethyan's press release dated January 11, 2006 and its 2005 Fourth Quarter Report. Such resource estimates have been reviewed by Jacques McMullen, Vice President, Metallurgy and Process Development of Barrick, Rick Allan, Director - Engineering and Mining Support of Barrick, and by Rick Sims, Manager Corporate Reserves of Barrick. The inferred and indicated mineral resource amounts reported under the JORC Code are substantially similar to the inferred and indicated mineral resource amounts that would be reported in accordance with National Instrument 43-101.
(7) Calculated as at December 31, 2006 in accordance with National Instrument 43-101 as required by Canadian securities regulatory authorities. Calculations have been prepared by or under the supervision of Dr. Hannes Henckel, Manager, Exploration and Geology, of Barrick. Sedibelo measured and indicated resources have been estimated using varying cut-off grades, as applicable, depending on the ore type, and other relevant factors.
(8) Calculated as at December 31, 2006 in accordance with National Instrument 43-101 as required by Canadian securities regulatory authorities. For a breakdown of reserves and resources by category and additional information relating to reserves and resources, see pages 111-116 of Barrick's Year End Report 2006.
(9) Calculated as at December 31, 2006 in accordance with National Instrument 43-101 as required by Canadian securities regulatory authorities. For a breakdown of reserves and resources by category and additional information relating to reserves and resources, see pages 111-116 of Barrick's Year End Report 2006.
(10) Calculated as at December 31, 2006 in accordance with National Instrument 43-101 as required by Canadian securities regulatory authorities. For United States reporting purposes, Industry Guide 7, (under the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934), as interpreted by Staff of the SEC, applies different standards in order to classify mineralization as a reserve. Accordingly, for U.S. reporting purposes, 1.88 million ounces of the Cortez reserve, Buzwagi and Pueblo Viejo are classified as mineralized material. For a breakdown of reserves and resources by category and additional information relating to reserves and resources, see pages 111-116 of Barrick’s Year End Report 2006.
Barrick Gold Corporation
Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications
(416) 861-1509 (FAX)
SOURCE: Barrick Gold Corporation