Barrick Gold profit disappoints as costs weigh

Thu Feb 16, 2012 10:27am EST
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By Euan Rocha

TORONTO (Reuters) - A 15 percent increase in quarterly operating profit at Barrick Gold (ABX.TO: Quote), the world's largest gold miner, fell short of expectations and its shares slid more than 2 percent on Thursday.

Barrick's results showed gains from a higher gold price, but increased gold and copper production costs prevented it performing as well as the market had forecast, analysts said.

Barrick's shares fell $1.02 to $46.41 in early trading on the New York Stock Exchange, while its Toronto-listed stock fell C$1.11 to C$46.43.

The Toronto-based gold miner said it was able to replace proven and probable reserves in 2011, keeping them just shy of the 140 million ounce mark, the largest gold reserve base in the world.

Barrick said it is continuing to enlarge its resources through new discoveries in Nevada: Goldrush and Red Hill. It has confirmed that the two deposits - now named the Goldrush complex - are a part of one large deposit with mineralization stretching over five kilometers (3 miles).

"Our growing high grade gold discovery in Nevada, Red Hill-Goldrush, clearly demonstrates the value that a focused and disciplined exploration program can create," Chief Executive Aaron Regent said in a statement.

The company also said it continues to advance its Pueblo Viejo project in the Dominican Republic and its Pascua-Lama project on the border of Chile and Argentina, with output set to begin in 2012 and 2013, respectively.

COSTS WEIGH   Continued...