UPDATE 2-Newmont eyes cost controls as CEO swap looms

Thu Feb 21, 2013 8:24pm EST
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* Adjusted earnings beat Street estimate

* Incoming CEO to focus on cost control

* Company to proceed with only most promising new projects

By Julie Gordon

TORONTO, Feb 21 (Reuters) - Newmont Mining Corp, the No. 1 U.S. gold producer, said on Thursday that a more disciplined approach to spending and cost cuts is its top priority as leadership of the company shifts to Gary Goldberg, who takes over as chief executive on March 1.

Newmont also reported a smaller-than-expected 4 percent drop in adjusted fourth-quarter profit on lower metal production and higher operating costs, which it vowed to bring under control.

Goldberg - whose promotion from chief operating officer to replace current CEO Richard O'Brien was announced in December - pledged to focus on reducing production costs at the global mining company and said Newmont would only proceed with the most promising opportunities in its portfolio.

The Denver-based miner has struggled in recent quarters with declining production, rising operating and development costs, and violent protests against its $5 billion Conga gold project in Peru.

Newmont is planning some $2.1 billion to $2.3 billion in capital spending in 2013, with about 40 percent of that on development projects and the remaining 60 percent earmarked as sustaining capital.   Continued...