By Robb M. Stewart

Barrick Gold shares were under pressure after production fell and costs rose in the first quarter of the year, though the Canadian miner said it was on track to hit its targets for the year.

The shares were 5.5% lower at C$22.65 in Toronto trading on Tuesday, for a drop so far this year of 5.4%. On the New York Stock Exchange, the stock was down 5.6% at $16.39, and has fallen 9.4% year-to-date.

Toronto-based Barrick said preliminary gold production totaled 940,000 troy ounces in the first three months of the year, which would mark a drop from 1.05 million ounces in the prior quarter. Copper output is estimated at 40,000 metric tons, against the 113 million pounds recorded in the fourth quarter.

The fall in production of the precious metal was expected, driven by planned maintenance at the company's Nevada mines and the sequencing of output at other sites. Barrick said the cost of gold sold on a per ounce basis is expected to be 4% to 6% higher for the quarter, and the all-in sustaining cost 7% to 9% higher than the prior quarter, though costs are expected to fall in the coming quarters as production ramps up.

The drop in copper production was due mainly to lower grades at the Lumwana open-pit mine in Zambia, and Barrick said the decline is expected to see the all-in sustaining cost per pound rise by 14% to 16% then drop in successive quarters.

Despite the fall in quarterly production, the company said it still expected to reach full-year guidance for the metals.

Barrick in February forecast annual gold production of between 3.9 million and 4.3 million ounces, after output slipped 2.1% in 2023 to 4.05 million ounces, and an all-in cost of $1,320 to $1,420 an ounce across its operations. It projected copper output would be between 180,000 and 210,000 tons at a cost of $3.10 to $3.40 per pound. Beginning this year, it is presenting copper production and sales in tons instead of pounds.

Write to Robb M. Stewart at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

04-16-24 1230ET