(Recasts with market beat, lower cost forecast)
Oct 30 (Reuters) - Newmont Mining Corp reported lower third-quarter earnings on Thursday but the largest U.S.-based gold miner beat market expectations and also reduced its forecast for gold production costs this year.
Newmont said it now expected 2014 all-in sustaining costs for producing an ounce of gold to be $1,020 to $1,080. In late September, Newmont forecast its all-in sustaining costs, the gold industry cost benchmark, for this year at $1,050 to $1,120 an ounce.
“For 2014, we expect costs at the low end of our cost guidance and we remain on track to meet our production outlook,” Gary Goldberg, Newmont’s President and Chief Executive Officer said in a statement.
Its Sept. 23 outlook forecast 2014 production of 4.7 million to 5 million ounces of gold and 80,000 to 90,000 tonnes of copper.
With the gold price down a third in three years, Newmont and other miners have been cutting costs to boost profitability. Production at some big gold miners is falling as they sell off high-cost operations.
Newmont, which has mines in North and South America, Africa, and Asia, said attributable net income from continuing operations was $210 million, or 42 cents a share, in the three months ended in September, down from $419 million, or 84 cents a share, a year earlier.
Net income, adjusted for items including asset sales and staff reductions, was $249 million, or 50 cents per basic share. That was higher than the $217 million, or 44 cents per basic share, a year earlier and well ahead of the 16 cents a share analysts had expected, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
In the third quarter, Newmont produced 1.15 million ounces of gold, down from 1.28 million ounces in the same period of 2013. It produced 13,700 tonnes of copper versus 19,200 tonnes in the year-prior period.
The company said its all-sustaining costs for producing an ounce of gold were $995 an ounce in the quarter, down from $1,018 per ounce in the same quarter of 2013.
But copper costs jumped to $6.61 a pound from $3.24 a year earlier due to costs associated with the ramp down and ramp up of operations in Indonesia.
Newmont resumed copper concentrate shipments from Indonesia in late September, ending a nine-month suspension from its Batu Hijau mine after the government imposed hefty export taxes that the company said violated its mining contract. Production was halted in June but has since restarted.
The price Newmont received for its gold dropped to $1,270 an ounce from $1,322 an ounce in the third quarter last year. (Reporting by Susan Taylor in Toronto and Nicole Mordant in Vancouver; Editing by David Gregorio; editing by Gunna Dickson)