UPDATE 1-Barrick earnings beat market expectations, cuts debt

Wed Oct 28, 2015 6:27pm EDT
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(Recasts with analyst forecast, other financial details)

Oct 28 (Reuters) - Barrick Gold Corp, the world's biggest gold producer, reported lower quarterly adjusted earnings on Wednesday due to weaker gold and copper prices but results were better than the market expected.

The Toronto-based miner, which has the highest debt of any gold miner, said it had reduced its debt to $11.2 billion as of Wednesday. That is down from $12.8 billion at the end of June and $13.1 billion at the start of the year.

Barrick, like rival Newmont Mining Corp, gave an improved cost outlook for the year.

It also expects to announce the outcome of the sale of a package of six U.S. gold assets in the fourth quarter.

Earlier, Barrick reported adjusted net earnings of $131 million, or 11 cents a share in the three months to end-September, compared to $222 million, or 19 cents a share in the same period a year ago. Analysts expected the miner to earn 7 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

On a net basis, Barrick swung to a third-quarter loss of $264 million, or 23 cents a share, as it booked a $455 million impairment charge related primarily to an accounting reclassification of its Zaldivar copper mine in Chile as "held-for-sale."

Barrick agreed in July to sell 50 percent of its Zaldivar mine to copper miner Antofagasta Plc for $1 billion in cash.

Barrick said it now expected lower all-in sustaining costs of between $830 and $870 per ounce this year. That compared with a previous forecast of between $840 and $880 per ounce.   Continued...