January 21, 2016 / 11:40 PM / 3 years ago

Barrick expects to take up to $3 billion in impairment charges

(Reuters) - Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO), the world’s biggest gold producer, said it expects to take charges of up to $3 billion following an annual accounting impairment review.

An overview of Barrick Gold Corporation's Pueblo Viejo gold mine, one of the world's largest, is seen in Cotui December 11, 2013. REUTERS/Ricardo Rojas

The company said it may have to take a goodwill impairment charge of about $1.8 billion, and asset impairment charges of $1.0-$1.2 billion, based on its preliminary analysis.

The asset writedown is primarily related to its Pascua-Lama mining project, on the border of Chile and Argentina, and its Pueblo Viejo project in Dominican Republic.

Barrick also said it met its $3 billion debt reduction target through non-core asset sales.

Pueblo Viejo, which is jointly owned by Barrick and rival Canadian producer Goldcorp Inc G.TO, in November faced mechanical problems resulting in reduced production in operation until mid-January 2016.

The Pascua-Lama project, which was suspended in 2013, has been facing complications from Chile’s environmental regulator SMA.

The company said on Thursday it assumes gold price of $1,000 per ounce for 2016 and a long-term gold price of $1,200 per ounce, for impairment testing purposes.

Barrick estimated 2015 gold production of 6.12 million ounces of gold, in line with its expectations of 6-6.15 million ounces.

The company said 2015 copper production was estimated at 511 million pounds, also in line with its expectations of 480-520 million pounds.

Barrick said realized gold price for the full-year is expected at $1,157 per ounce and copper price is expected at $2.37 per pound.

Reporting by Anet Josline Pinto in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila

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