Barrick Gold has posted net earnings attributable to equity holders of $120m (C$163.36m) for Q1 2023, a 73% decrease from $438m in the same quarter last year.

This was largely driven by reduced sales volumes for gold and copper, an increased gold and copper cost of sales per ounce, along with a reduced realised copper price.

However, it was an improvement on the previous quarter, when the company registered a loss of $735m.

The Canadian miner’s revenues were $2.64bn for the three-month period ending 31 March 2023, down 7% from $2.85bn in the prior year. 

Adjusted EBITDA dropped by 28% to $1.18bn from $1.64bn while total consolidated capital expenditures increased 13% year-on-year to $688m.

Free cash flow dropped to $88m from $393m.

The miner produced 952,000oz of gold in the first three months of this year, a 4% decrease from 990,000oz in the previous year.

Gold sold by the company dropped 4% to 954,000oz from 993,000oz, with the average realised gold price increasing to $1,902 an ounce from $1,876.

Copper production fell 13% to 88 million pounds (mlb) from 101mlb while copper sold slumped 21% to 89mlb.

The company has declared a dividend of $0.10 per share for Q1 2023.

Barrick Gold president and CEO Mark Bristow said: “While we continue to build our peerless asset base, we are also casting our net wider and stepping up the hunt for fresh opportunities. During the past quarter, we have opened up new frontiers and secured multiple interesting prospects in Canada, the USA, Peru, the Dominican Republic, Saudi Arabia and Tanzania.”

Besides, Bristow told Reuters in an interview that it is not interested in pursuing Teck Resources’ copper assets due to the lack of synergies between the companies and Teck’s debt issues.

Bristow was quoted by the news agency as saying: “We would just have to take over the debt and we still get the assets that don’t bring synergies.”