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UPDATE 2-Barrick Gold sees output slide as reserves fall

From Reuters - February 14, 2018

(Reuters) - Canadas Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO), the worlds biggest gold producer, forecast an output drop over the next four years on Wednesday, with mining costs flat to higher.

Barrick, which reported quarterly earnings that matched market expectations, said its reserves of unmined gold dropped by 25 percent last year to 64.5 million ounces, as it sold off mine stakes and changed its plan for a South American asset.

Falling production and reserves are a concern for the industry, as finding new deposits becomes ever harder and the non-renewable resource is mined out.

Tight exploration and development budgets and a focus on cash flow in recent years, as companies have worked to repair damaged balance sheets, have also slowed the building of new mines.

Toronto-based Barrick said it expects to produce between 4.5 million and 5 million ounces of gold this year, at a cost of between $765 and $815 an ounce on an all-in sustaining basis, the industry benchmark.

That is down from 5.32 million ounces of gold in 2017, when costs were a comparable $750 per ounce. Barrick is one of the industrys lowest cost producers.

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