May 1, 2014 / 9:05 PM / in 4 years

UPDATE 1-Gold miner Agnico-Eagle profit rises, ups output forecast

(Adds forecasts, production figures, background)

May 1 (Reuters) - Agnico-Eagle Mines Ltd posted an increase in first-quarter earnings on Thursday despite weaker bullion prices as it reported significantly higher gold production and lower production costs.

The Canadian-based gold miner said net income rose to $108.9 million, or 63 cents per share, in the quarter, from $23.9 million, or 14 cents per share, in the same period a year ago.

On an adjusted basis, Agnico booked a profit of $106.8 million or 61 cents per share.

Given the strong output and lower costs in the first quarter, Agnico said it now expects full-year 2014 gold production to “exceed the higher end” of its previous forecast range of 1.18 million to 1.2 million ounces.

The company also said its total cash costs are now forecast to be “better than the lower end” of the guidance range of $670 to $690 per ounce.

Agnico, which has mines in Canada and Mexico, produced 366,421 ounces of gold in the first quarter, up from 236,975 ounces in the same three-month period in 2013.

Total cash costs were $537 an ounce in the quarter, down from $740 per ounce in the same quarter a year ago.

Agnico recently teamed up with miner Yamana Gold Inc to buy another Canadian company Osisko Mining Corp , which owns the low-cost Canadian Malarctic gold mine in Quebec. (Reporting by Nicole Mordant in Vancouver; editing by G Crosse and; Steve Orlofsky)

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