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Barrick looking at copper, but focus is on gold: CEO

The world’s biggest gold miner, Barrick Gold (ABX-T), says it is looking at copper properties, although it will remain focused on gold.

“Copper will be a growing part of our production mix,” president and CEO Aaron Regent tells BNN.

He says Barrick has the capacity to acquire new assets. “On the acquisition front, there’s nothing that moves that we don’t know about, don’t have views about and if something looks attractive to us we’re able and prepared to act.”

Its adjusted earnings rose in the last quarter because of higher gold prices and copper sales. But the gold miner expects to produce less gold in 2012 than in 2011 -- 7.3. million ounces, versus 7.68 million ounces last year.

It also chose to maintain its dividend and not return more cash to shareholders. “We recognize the importance of dividends to shareholders particularly in this low-interest rate environment. But even putting that aside, it’s the right thing to do to return capital back to shareholders,” Regent says.
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