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Barrick (GOLD) to Double Copper Production by End of Decade

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According to President and CEO Mark Bristow, Barrick Gold Corporation (GOLD - Free Report) is poised for significant growth in its copper production, with plans to double output by the end of the decade and reach an estimated 1 billion pounds or 450,000 tons of copper annually by 2031.

Bristow highlighted that this substantial increase in copper production, combined with Barrick's industry-leading gold portfolio, is expected to boost the company's attributable production by approximately 30% to reach 6.8 million gold-equivalent ounces by 2031. He noted that the market currently undervalues the potential of these projects, particularly the growing copper business, and believes Barrick deserves a premium compared to its peers.

Key projects contributing to this growth include Reko Diq in Pakistan, which is anticipated to become one of the world's top 10 copper mines upon reaching full production, and the Lumwana Super Pit Expansion, which could yield 240,000 tons of copper per year from a 50-million-ton process plant expansion over a 36-year mine life. The accelerated Lumwana work program aims to complete a full feasibility study by the end of 2024, expediting production from the Super Pit to 2028. Similarly, the Reko Diq project will deliver an updated feasibility study by the end of 2024. These studies will support potential reserve updates and transition to construction.


Within Barrick's gold growth portfolio, the Fourmile project is a standout development located in a prolific gold district with ongoing drilling indicating the potential for increased grade and size. Barrick is considering options for independent exploration decline access to support a pre-feasibility study, with preliminary economic assessments suggesting a potential production profile of 300,000–400,000 ounces per year and the existing Cortez profile of 950,000–1.2 million ounces per year over 10 years.

Nevada Gold Mines, the world's largest gold mining complex, is set to boost its annual production to 3.7 million ounces by the decade's end, driven by three Tier One assets and nearby exploration. This growth could extend the mine's lifespan to 15 years or more.

Barrick envisions a 10-year production profile of 1.4–1.6 million ounces per year in the Carlin District, with high-grade opportunities in the Horsham area that may extend production beyond the initial 10-year period.

Similarly, at Turquoise Ridge, Barrick plans to expand its reserves and resources base with growth opportunities in the Cricket Corridor, BBT Corridor, and Getchell Fault zone, potentially increasing the 10-year production profile to 550,000–700,000 ounces per year.

The Pueblo Viejo expansion project in Latin America is converting a Tier One mine into a long-life, cost-effective producer. In Papua New Guinea, efforts are underway to restart the Porgera mine by year-end, with drilling focused on defining resources at the Wangima Pit, potentially supporting a mine life of around 20 years.

Growth opportunities are evident in the Africa and Middle East region, where Barrick is leveraging partnership models in Tanzania and Saudi Arabia. This region has demonstrated a consistent track record of success in production and reserve replacement.

Barrick stock has gained 2.9% in the past year against the industry’s rise of 19.6% in the same period.

Zacks Investment Research
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Zacks Rank & Key Picks

Barrick currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Some better-ranked stocks in the primary materials space are Carpenter Technology Corporation (CRS - Free Report) , Akzo Nobel N.V. (AKZOY - Free Report) , both sporting a Zacks Rank #1, and Alamos Gold Inc. (AGI - Free Report) , carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

The earnings estimate for Carpenter Technology’s current year is pegged at $3.48, indicating a year-over-year growth of 205%. CRS beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate in all the last four quarters, with the average earnings surprise being 10%. The company’s shares have rallied 75.2% in the past year.

The consensus estimate for Akzo Nobel’s current-year earnings is pegged at $1.44, indicating a year-over-year growth of 67.4%. In the past 60 days, AKZOY’s current-year earnings estimate has been revised upward by 2.9%. The company’s shares have rallied 25.3% in the past year.

The earnings estimate for Alamos’ current year is pegged at 43 cents, indicating a year-over-year growth of 53.6%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for AGI current-year earnings has been revised 13.1% upward in the past 60 days. The company’s shares have surge roughly 61.4% in the past year.

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