Barrick Gold Corp. is scouting for new exploration opportunities in Asia as part of an ongoing push into prospective territories, the Toronto-based mining company said Wednesday.
The company, which beat expectations even though its profit fell 13 per cent to US$2.02 billion or US$1.14 per diluted share last year, said it has set up a specialist Asia-Pacific team to identify and evaluate opportunities in that region.
"We're excited about the opportunities to grow our footprint in that area," Barrick chief executive Dennis Bristow said in a conference call to discuss fourth quarter and full-year 2021 results.
He added the company also has geologists working in Guyana, Ecuador and Tanzania, and is bullish about its prospects in those countries.
"There's a lot to come organically. Of course, as you know, one big discovery changes everything. And that's where you really create value in a mining company," Bristow said.
Barrick already has gold and copper mining operations and projects in 13 countries in North and South America, Africa, Papua New Guinea and Saudi Arabia.
In a news release Wednesday, the company said its 2021 production was in line with guidance for the third successive year despite the challenges of COVID-19. The company said it also more than replaced its gold reserves, net of depletion, at a better grade.
Announcing the annual results, the company said its reserve replenishment was attributable to continued brownfield exploration success and a drive for fresh discoveries in prospective territories.
Barrick Gold Corp. — which keeps its books in U.S. dollars — also raised its dividend Wednesday, saying it will now pay a quarterly dividend of 10 cents per share, up from nine cents.
In the future, Barrick will also pay an additional performance-based dividend linked to the net cash on its balance sheet.
The company reported its revenue for 2021 was nearly US$12 billion, down from nearly US$12.6 billion in 2020.
On an adjusted basis, Barrick said it earned US$1.16 per share for the year, four cents per share above analyst forecasts and up from an adjusted profit of US$1.15 per share a year earlier.
For the fourth quarter it earned US$726 million or 41 cents per share, up from US$685 million or 39 cents per share a year earlier. Adjusted profits rose to $626 million from US$616 million while earnings per share was unchanged at 35 cents.
Revenues increased to US$3.31 billion from US$3.28 billion.
Barrick was expected to report 30 cents per share in adjusted profits on US$3.15 billion of revenues, according for financial data firm Refinitiv.
Barrick also reported Wednesday that a workplace fatality occurred at its North Mara mine in Tanzania on January.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 16, 2022.
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Amanda Stephenson, The Canadian Press