Barrick Gold Corporation has announced preliminary full year and fourth quarter 2021 production results, which demonstrate that despite the ongoing challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, it has met its annual guidance targets for the third consecutive year.
Preliminary gold production for the full year of 4.44 Moz was within the 4.4 to 4.7 Moz guidance range, with both the Africa & Middle East and Latin America & Asia Pacific regions finishing the year at the higher end of their regional gold guidance range. Preliminary copper production of 415 million pounds for 2021 was also within the guidance range of 410 to 460 million pounds.
The preliminary Q4 results show sales for the quarter of 1.23 Moz of gold and 113 million pounds of copper, as well as preliminary Q4 production of 1.20 Moz of gold and 126 million pounds of copper. The average market price for gold in Q4 was $1,795 per ounce, while the average market price for copper was $4.40 per pound.
Preliminary Q4 gold production was higher than Q3 2021, mainly due to the strong performance from Carlin and Cortez following the repair of the Goldstrike roaster completed at the end of the third quarter, which allowed for increased processing of material mined from both sites.
Preliminary Q4 gold sales were higher than Q3 2021 as Veladero sold a portion of its built-up gold inventory. Q4 gold cost of sales per ounce is expected to be 3-5% lower than Q3 2021, total cash costs per ounce are expected to be 1-3% lower than the prior quarter, and gold all-in sustaining costs per ounce are expected to be 4-6% lower than in Q3 2021.
Preliminary Q4 copper production was higher than Q3 2021, primarily due to increased throughput levels at Lumwana. Preliminary Q4 copper sales were lower than production, mainly due to the timing of shipments at Lumwana.
Q4 copper cost of sales per pound is expected to be 13-15% lower and Q4 copper C1 cash costs per pound are expected to be 11-13% lower, while copper all-in sustaining costs per pound are expected to be 11-13% higher than Q3 2021 due to higher capital expenditures at Lumwana, primarily related to new mining equipment and stripping.