Barrick winds up all gold hedges

Barrick Gold Corp. has eliminated all of its gold hedges ahead of schedule.

Barrick Gold Corp. has eliminated all of its gold hedges ahead of schedule.

In September, Toronto-based Barrick moved to raise more than $3 billion US to eliminate its gold price hedging contracts. At the time, it vowed to wind down the hedges within 12 months, but the company sped up the process and achieved their goal in under three months.

"Our positive view on the gold price led us to accelerate the elimination of these contracts ahead of the schedule we had established," Barrick CEO Aaron Regent said. 

The hedges were contracts to provide buyers with gold at a predetermined price that would not necessarily be the market price at the time of delivery. They were designed to protect the company in case gold prices fell, but they also limited Barrick's ability to take advantage of the subsequent rise in gold prices. Indeed, the liability of the pledge to provide gold at a fixed price in the future only rose as the market price of gold increased.

The company settled its remaining gold hedging contracts at $1,070 US an ounce, a spokesman said Tuesday. Some of the settled contracts were originally valued at roughly $400 an ounce.

The spot price of bullion in New York hit $1,198.70 US early Tuesday morning, roughly $20 above where it had closed on Monday.

Barrick is the world's largest gold producer. For 2010, the company expects gold production to grow to between 7.7 million and 8.1 million ounces at lower total cash costs than 2009.

Barrick's shares closed at $44.86 Monday on the Toronto Stock Exchange.