Barrick finalized a deal with the Tanzanian government to lift the export ban on its Bulyanhulu, North Mara and Buzwagi mines. Courtesy of Barrick.

Barrick Gold released its 2019 fourth quarter report on Feb. 12, announcing an increase in its annual reserve and resource declaration following a year of expansion in which Barrick made several mergers and acquisitions concerning its gold portfolio.

Total attributable gold reserves are now at 1.3 billion tonnes grading at 1.68 g/t for 71 million ounces of gold, representing a 14.5 per cent increase of the total reserves and a 7.7 per cent increase in ore grade for the company. Measured and indicated resources stand at 3.4 billion tonnes grading at 1.55 grams per tonne for 170 million ounces, with an additional inferred resources of 940 million tonnes grading at 1.3 grams for 39 million ounces.

Following its 2018 merger with Randgold Resources, Barrick announced a joint venture with Newmont Mining over their Nevada operations in March 2019. The deal included their existing joint venture, Turquoise Ridge, as well as Barrick’s Cortez and Newmont’s Carlin mines.

In July, Barrick bought out Acacia Mining in a US$1.19 billion deal, acquiring three mines in Tanzania. A few months later, in October, the company finalized an agreement with the Tanzanian government to lift its March 2017 export ban on the Bulyanhulu, North Mara and Buzwagi mines. The following month, Barrick sold its 50 per cent interest in the Kalgoorlie Consolidated gold mine to Saracen Mineral Holdings.

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“We started the year with five tier one gold mines and ended it with six, thanks to the Nevada deal,” Barrick CEO Mark Bristow said in the report. “We’ve also succeeded in replenishing our reserves and resources, net of depletion, at a higher grade.”

According to the report, this was accomplished through “reserve additions greater than mining depletion at a number of [its] principal assets,” cost cutting measures taken at the company’s Nevada joint venture with Newmont and “the focus of geology as a core discipline” of the company.

In the fourth quarter report, Barrick recorded adjusted net earnings of US$902 million, an increase of 46 per cent over the previous year. Gold production in the fourth quarter reached 1,439,000 gold ounces at an all sustaining cost of US$923 per ounce, with overall gold production in 2019 reaching 5,465,000 ounces, at the top of its guidance range.