(Adds details on gold pricing, industry)
April 26 (Reuters) - U.S. Gold miner Newmont Mining Corp reported a higher-than-expected quarterly profit on Thursday as gold prices got a boost from investors turning to safe haven assets due to recent geopolitical tensions.
Gold hit $1,366 in January, its highest in 1-1/2 years, lifting Newmont’s average realized prices of the commodity by 8.8 percent to $1,326 per ounce.
That resulted in a 7.5 percent increase in total sales to $1.82 billion, helping offset a slight dip in production.
Newmont, which has mines in the Americas, Africa and Australia, said total gold production fell 2 percent to 1.21 million ounces.
Still, volumes were higher than rival Barrick Gold Corp’s first-quarter production of 1.05 million ounces.
Newmont also stuck to its 2018 forecast of 4.9-5.4 million ounces of gold output, putting it on track to overtake Barrick Gold as the world’s largest producer this year.
Net income attributable to shareholders of Newmont rose to $192 million, or 36 cents per share, for the quarter ended March 31 from $47 million, or 9 cents per share, a year earlier.
Excluding items, the Greenwood Village, Colorado-based company reported a profit of 35 cents per share, missing the average analyst estimate of 33 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. (Reporting by Akshara P in Bengaluru Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Anil D’Silva)