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Barrick Gold Corp. says a proposal to hand out US$750 million in cash to its shareholders has been approved by those who stand to pocket the outlay of 42 cents per share.

The Toronto mining company says shareholders voted 99 per cent in favour of the return of capital motion at its virtual annual meeting on Tuesday.

Barrick suggested the payouts in February. The company has been buoyed by stronger gold and copper prices and is flush with cash after realizing $1.5 billion in proceeds from the sale of non-core assets since 2019.

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Last month, Barrick reported preliminary first quarter production of 1.10 million ounces of gold and 93 million pounds of copper, noting average market prices for gold of US$1,794 per ounce and for copper of US$3.86 per pound.

In an update in April, Barrick said since its merger with Randgold Resources two years ago, it has raised the quarterly dividend three-fold, reduced net debt to zero, and had US$5.2 billion in cash on hand and an undrawn US$3 billion credit facility.

Barrick shares trended lower on Tuesday despite the payout, closing 24 cents or 0.88 per cent lower at $27.06. Its 52-week high was $41.09.

“As owners of five of the top 10 gold-producing operations in the world and with strong cash flows, no net debt and a 10-year plan based primarily on declared reserves and resources, we believe that our sustainable profitability is not yet recognized in the share price,” said executive chairman John Thornton in a news release.

“What is clear is that the industry is not replacing what it is mining. The real winners will be the companies who grow their businesses for the long-term, rather than focusing on short-term gains, extending 10-year plans to 15 and even 20 years, which is what Barrick is doing.”

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