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(Reuters) - Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO), the world's top gold miner, reported a huge drop in third-quarter profit due to lower sales volumes and lower realized gold prices, and again boosted development costs at its massive Pascua-Lama project.
The Pascua-Lama gold mine, high in the Andes on the border between Chile and Argentina, is now expected to cost some $8 billion to $8.5 billion, up from $7.5 billion to $8 billion, the company said.
A review of the project is expected in early 2013, with first production at the massive mine expected in the second half of 2014.
Barrick also said it had deferred some $3 billion in capital spending over four years as part of an on-going review, with some $1 billion lopped off 2013 spending. Next year's capital expenditures are now expected to be in line with 2012 spending.
The miner also lowered its full year outlook for copper to 450 million pounds in 2012 as production was delayed at Jabal Sayid in Saudi Arabia. Full year gold production is expected to be within guidance at 7.3 million to 7.5 million ounces.
Net profit fell to $618 million, or 62 cents per share, in the quarter ended September 30, down from $1.37 billion, or $1.37 per share, a year earlier.
On an adjusted basis, Barrick earned 85 cents per share, down from $1.38 per share, a year earlier. Analysts, on average, had expected earnings of 98 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Revenue fell 13.5 percent to $3.4 billion on lower gold sales and a lower realized gold price in the third quarter.
Reporting by Julie Gordon in Toronto and Bhaswati Mukhopadhyay in Bangalore; Editing by Roshni Menon and Grant McCool