Canadian miner Barrick Gold beat final quarter expectations for profit today on the back of higher prices for the precious metal, announcing a 40 per cent hike in its dividend as a result.
The company said it justified the payout on the basis of increased cash flow and reducing its debt pile by 50 per cent, to $2.2bn, over the course of 2019.
Last year saw average gold prices rise from $1,223 to $1,483 as investors put more money into safe haven assets on the back of fears over a global economic slowdown due to the trade dispute between the US and China.
The miner posted earnings of $300m for the last three months of the year, or 17 cents a share, ahead of analyst expectations of 13 cents.
Gold production hit 5.5m ounces over the whole year, the top end of its guidance, whilst copper production beat guidance at 432m pounds.
Chief executive Mark Bristow said that the successful formation of its Nevada gold mines joint venture saw its North American operations delivering at the midpoint of production and cost guidance ranges.
He said: “In the year since the completion of Barrick’s merger with Randgold Resources, we have transformed the new company while creating the world’s largest gold mining complex in Nevada in a transaction that had been unsuccessfully pursued for two decades.
In November the firm sold its 50 per cent stake in western Australia’s Kalgoorlie mine for $750m, part of a plan to complete $1.5bn in disposals by the end of 2020.
“We started the year with five tier one gold mines and ended it with six, thanks to the Nevada deal. We’ve also succeeded in replenishing our reserves and resources, net of depletion, at a higher grade”.
In December 2018 Barrick completed a $6bn merger with the FTSE listed Randgold, with 95 per cent of stakeholders voting in favour of the deal.