Barrick gold has been through an interesting few decades. Mergers and acquisitions aside, it has been the darling of the gold stock investor with its old hedging program; accused to manipulating the gold price through said hedges; and a loser when the price of gold started a long sustained move up from 2002-2012. And now it finds itself in another lower gold price environment with high debt, likely declining gold output, dividend cut and lower stock price. While most gold miners have suffered from this lower and stagnated price of the precious metal, Barrick seems to have been hit especially hard. Barrick believes that it can maintain a run rate of six million ounces a year for the next couple of years but some analysts see gold mining production falling to the 4 million ounces per year handle. The Toronto Star reports that the company is now shedding non-core mines and drastically cutting corporate staff in order to trim on its high debt load and start increasing margins.
"Barrick Gold Corp. chairman John Thornton’s message to Bay Street came through loud and clear: he wants to take the world’s largest gold producer back to its roots as a smaller company with fewer mines and micro-managers and hopefully return it to profitability."
"Thornton also set a year-end target to cut Barrick’s net debt by 30 per cent, which includes plans to sell two problematic mines in Australia and Papua New Guinea and potentially other assets. In the last few years, Barrick has shrunk from 27 operating mines to 18 and shelved its massive Pascua-Lama project in the Andes due to billions of dollars in cost overruns."