March 16, 2018
Dear Fellow Shareholders,
On behalf of the Board of Directors, I am pleased to invite you to our Annual Meeting of Shareholders.
Over the past year, we made progress on the strategic priorities that will create long-term value per share for our fellow owners—yet we also learned how much work we still have to do in our quest to become a leading twenty-first century company. Two challenges in particular weighed on our results and reminded us that job number one must always be consistent, reliable execution.
Barrick generated operating cash flow of $2.07 billion and free cash flow of $669 million. We reduced our total debt by $1.51 billion, exceeding our target for the year. We maintained strict discipline in our capital allocation, which included raising our dividend by 50 percent and increasing investments in organic projects. As a result we added eight million ounces of proven and probable gold reserves at existing operations (as well as the Goldrush project) through drilling, more than replacing the reserves we depleted through processing. We unified our Cortez and Goldstrike mines into a single, efficient operation. We improved our safety performance, with the lowest incident rate in the Company’s history—among the lowest in the industry. That achievement was overshadowed by the tragic deaths of two colleagues in workplace accidents; here, too, we still have a long way to go. Finally, we continued to strengthen our partnership culture, particularly in creating distinctive, enduring relationships with China and its best companies.
For all these achievements, we also know that success is no insulator against setbacks. In March, our Veladero mine in Argentina suffered its third environmental incident in 18 months. We took dramatic steps to strengthen the mine’s operating systems, including major modifications to the heap leach facility. Then, the government of Tanzania imposed a ban on concentrate exports and later levied a multi-billion-dollar tax claim against Acacia Mining plc, a company operated independently of Barrick, in which we have a 63.9 percent equity stake. Barrick entered into direct discussions with the Government of Tanzania to develop a proposal for a mutually beneficial resolution.
In the wake of these challenges, our most important priority is achieving and maintaining consistent, reliable execution in order to deliver the full value of our portfolio. We have some of the highest-quality, lowest-cost gold assets in the world. We have sold most of our high-cost, non-core operations, and our portfolio is now focused primarily on high-margin, long-life gold operations and projects clustered throughout the Americas. We have a materially stronger balance sheet. Our overriding objective remains unchanged: growing free cash flow per share over the long-term.
We invite you to review our information circular, in which you can find all the information you will need to inform your vote, as well as the details on how to attend our Annual Meeting, how to vote, and how to contact me, my fellow directors, and the Company.
We are committed to earning the trust that you, our fellow owners, have placed in us. We look forward to your participation in the Annual Meeting on April 24, 2018.
John L. Thornton