Focus on Tier One Assets Delivers Significant Increase in Resources and Reserves, Underpinning Industry-Leading Production Profile Growth

Feb 25, 2023 | Ontario Mining News

Barrick Gold Corporation (NYSE:GOLD)(TSX:ABX) grew attributable proven and probable gold mineral reserves by 6.7 million ounces net of depletion in 2022, while maintaining grade despite an increase in the reserve price assumption. Reported at $1,300/oz1, attributable proven and probable mineral reserves now stand at 76 million ounces2 at 1.67g/t, increasing from 69 million ounces3 at 1.71g/t reported at $1,200/oz1 in 2021. Led by Pueblo Viejo and the Africa & Middle East region, Barrick has now delivered a second consecutive year of gold reserve growth over and above annual depletion, with nearly 12 million ounces2 of attributable proven and probable reserve gains in 2022 before depletion.

Successful exploration at both the Lumwana and Jabal Sayid mines drove the growth of attributable proven and probable copper reserves by 640 million pounds2, notwithstanding an increase in the annual reserve price assumption to $3.00/lb1. As a result, Barrick replaced 103% of annual global depletion at consistent quality, effectively maintaining attributable proven and probable copper mineral reserves of 12 billion pounds2 at 0.38% in 2022.

Total attributable gold mineral resources grew by nearly 10% relative to 2021, and total attributable copper mineral resources more than doubled, growing by 124% year over year, both net of annual depletion. This growth was driven by the successful completion of a preliminary economic assessment supporting the Lumwana Super Pit expansion, and the incorporation of Reko Diq following the reconstitution of the project in December 2022. Attributable measured and indicated gold resources for 2022 stand at 180 million ounces2 at 1.07g/t, with a further 42 million ounces2 at 0.8g/t of inferred resources. Attributable measured and indicated copper resources for 2022 stand at 44 billion pounds2 at 0.39%, with a further 15 billion pounds2 at 0.4% of inferred resources. Mineral resources are reported inclusive of reserves and for 2022, are based on a gold price of $1,700/oz1 and a copper price of $3.75/lb1.

President and chief executive Mark Bristow said in a sector of diminishing reserves and resources, Barrick’s strategy of investing in organic growth through exploration and mineral resource management has replenished and delivered significant value within the company’s asset base.

“While we continue to evaluate all new opportunities against our strategic filters, we have always believed that finding our ounces is better than buying them, and this year’s resource and reserve statement showcases the unmatched potential of our organic growth pipeline,” said Bristow.

Mineral Resource Management and Evaluation Executive Simon Bottoms stated that basing the company’s reserve calculations at a price of $1,300/oz for gold1 and $3.00/lb for copper1 underpins our focus on quality assets.

“The substantial growth in our mineral resources lays the long-term foundation to potentially grow our current attributable production profile of approximately 5.5 million gold equivalent ounces4 per year to approximately 6.5 million gold equivalent ounces4 per year by the end of this decade, which would include production from Reko Diq and the Lumwana Super Pit,” said Bottoms.

In Africa, the Tier One5 operations led the growth in 2022 reserves, where Kibali completed an updated underground feasibility study on the 11000 lode, delivering a 0.62 million ounce2 increase in attributable proven and probable reserves before depletion. Loulo-Gounkoto also delivered strong results replacing reserve depletion, which further extended the mine life by another year. Moving to Tanzania, the focus on underground expansion at Gokona in North Mara has delivered a 0.44 million ounce2 increase in 2022 attributable proven and probable reserves before depletion.

The Lumwana copper mineral resource base grew by 89%, net of depletion, relative to 2021. This follows the completion of the preliminary economic assessment on the Super Pit expansion that demonstrates strong potential for a Tier One Copper Asset5 and provides the basis for the ongoing pre-feasibility study.

Within the Latin America & Asia Pacific region, Pueblo Viejo completed a pre-feasibility study for the new Naranjo tailings storage facility (TSF), adding 6.5 million ounces of attributable proven and probable reserves2,6, net of depletion, and extending the minelife beyond 2040. As a result, 2022 attributable proven and probable gold reserves for the region have increased to 27 million ounces2 at 0.97g/t from 21 million ounces3 at 0.83g/t in 2021.

The reconstitution of the Reko Diq project added an attributable 18 billion pounds of copper2 at 0.44% with 15 million ounces gold2 at 0.26g/t to indicated resources, and an attributable 4.6 billion pounds of copper2 at 0.4% with 3.7 million ounces gold2 at 0.2g/t to inferred resources. These mineral resources reflect only three porphyries (H13, H14, H15) as well as the Tanjeel deposit within the cluster of Western Porphyries. Alongside the ongoing feasibility study update, the team is also planning to evaluate further known porphyry occurrences within the mining lease area.

In North America, the completion of pre-feasibility studies for the Robertson open pit project at Cortez, as well as a new pushback in the Hemlo open pit were significant contributors to reserve growth. As a result, Robertson’s maiden attributable proven and probable gold reserves are estimated at 1.0 million ounces2 at 0.46g/t. This represents a milestone for Cortez as a key source of oxide mill feed in the mine plan. Similarly, the new Hemlo open pit pushback is expected to commence in 2027 adding 0.86 million ounces2 of gold at 1.49g/t to probable reserves. Combined with other updates across the region, this results in the growth of North America attributable proven and probable reserves by 1.8 million ounces2 before depletion, with proven and probable attributable reserves for the region now estimated at 31 million ounces2 at 2.54g/t. At the same time, attributable gold mineral resources also grew significantly, supporting future potential reserve growth in line with our strategy to fully replace depletion for the region within a five-year period. Measured and indicated attributable gold resources increased by 2.8 million ounces2 to 73 million ounces2 at 2.16 g/t, from 70 million ounces3 at 2.22 g/t in 2021. Inferred attributable gold resources also increased to 17 million ounces2 at 1.8 g/t, from 16 million ounces3 at 2.0 g/t in 2021. Underground resource extension drilling at both Goldstrike and Leeville in Carlin were key drivers of this organic resource growth, as well as successful resource definition drilling at Goldrush and Robertson in Cortez, all of which support the potential for future reserve growth in this region.