Despite robust 2013 Q1 financial and operating results, officials at Barrick Gold have reported a net and adjusted earnings decrease to $847 million from $1.04 billion year-on-year attributed to falling market demands. In particular, Barrick, the world’s top gold producer, cited lower realized gold and copper prices, lessened gold and copper sales volumes, and higher sales costs applicable to gold and copper, though partially offset by lower income tax expenses.
Barrick CEO Jamie Sokalsky, nonetheless, credited a “high quality portfolio of mines” with “sharp focus on cost management” as forces behind 2013’s otherwise strong results. And “while we remain positive on the long-term fundamentals for gold and copper, we don’t rely on higher metal prices to be the only driver of shareholder returns,” he added.
Suspension at Barrick’s Pascua-Lama gold-silver project in Chile was also an important development, noted Sokalsky; with 18 million proven gold oz and an estimated 4.7 billion silver oz, Pascua Lama is forecast to produce 850,000 gold oz and 35 million silver oz at the outset of a 25-year life cycle.
“We are working to address the environmental and other regulatory requirements on the Chilean side,” Sokalsky added; this month, a local appeals court ordered suspension of activities pending an environmental compliance hearing.