The world's second-largest gold miner announced in November that its 2023 gold production would be lower than expected due to equipment issues at its Dominican Republic mine and reduced output at two sites in the Nevada Gold Fields business co-owned with Newmont in the US.
In a preliminary update on Wednesday, the company reported a 2.17% decrease in 2023 gold output to 4.05 million ounces from 2022, falling below analysts' average estimate of 4.16 million ounces. Copper production also declined by 4.76% to 420 million pounds, which was below analysts' estimate of around 433 million pounds.
Shares of the Toronto-based company initially dropped 4% after the data was released but later recovered to end down 2.7% on a day when world gold prices nearly reached the $2,000 per ounce level on Comex.
The Comex continuous price finished more than 1% lower at $2,007, as Wall Street began to realize that the Fed would not cut rates as quickly as investors wanted.
Barrick did point out the fourth-quarter improvement in output, which rose to 1.05 million ounces of gold and 113 million pounds of copper, up from 1.04 million ounces of gold and 112 million pounds of copper in the previous quarter. Gold production, however, remained significantly lower than the 1.120 million ounces produced in the final quarter of 2022, while copper output was higher than the 96 million pounds.
Nevertheless, like all gold miners, the company saw a significant boost from the surge in gold prices in late 2023. Its average price in 2022 was $1,795 an ounce, and its 2023 price estimate was $1,650 an ounce. Its average price in the nine months leading up to September was above $1,900 an ounce, before prices rose back over $2,000 an ounce and remained there for much of the final quarter.
Barrick is scheduled to release its fourth-quarter results on February 14.