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Barrick Gold grows net reserves to 69moz at improved grade

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Barrick Gold says its improving reserve base comes with a 3% better group reserve grade in 2021. Credit: Henry Lazenby.

Barrick Gold (TSX: ABX; NYSE: GOLD) says it has succeeded in replacing its global gold reserve base by 150% before accounting for acquisition and equity changes at its South Arturo mine in Nevada and Porgera mine in Papua New Guinea.

The gold major says the improving reserve base comes with a 3% improved group reserve grade in 2021.

Barrick reported that at $1,200/oz, attributable proven and probable reserves now stood at 69 million ounces at 1.71 grams per tonne, rising from 68 million ounces at 1.66 grams per tonne in 2020.

President Mark Bristow said in a February 10 press release that successful exploration continued to replenish the company’s asset base and target pipeline, securing its business plans well into the future. The reserve replacement comes amid industry-wide depletion of reserves and resources.

“While we look closely at all new business opportunities, we believe finding our ounces is always better than buying them. That’s why we’re still discovering real value at the end of our drill bits,” said Bristow.

The North America and Africa & Middle East regions led the growth, contributing more than 8.4 million ounces of attributable proven and probable reserves.

In North America, Barrick recorded gains from completing the updated feasibility study of the Goldrush underground project, which increased Goldrush’s attributable proven and probable mineral reserves by 3.6 million ounces to 4.8 million ounces at 7.29 grams per tonne. At the Turquoise Ridge complex, attributable proven and probable reserves increased by 1.4 million ounces before depletion, mainly off the back of a revised geological model at Turquoise Ridge Underground.

In Africa, Bulyanhulu completed an updated underground feasibility study on the Deep West portion of the orebody, allowing us to increase attributable proven and probable reserves by 770,000 ounces before depletion through the conversion of inferred mineral resources.

Also in Tanzania, a fully optimized integrated mine plan at North Mara has increased attributable proven and probable reserves by 1.1 million ounces before depletion.

Barrick also flagged its two Tier 1 mines in Africa as also delivering results. Kibali in the Democratic Republic of Congo more than replaced depleted reserves and Loulo-Gounkoto, in western Mali, replenishing 98% of depletion for the year.

On the copper front, Barrick said that at $2.75 per lb., attributable proven and probable reserves were 12 billion lb. at an average grade of 0.38%.

Barrick’s Toronto-quoted equity is down almost 13% over the past 12 months at C$24.88 apiece, giving the major a market capitalization of C$44.25 billion ($35.1bn).

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