* Q1 loss/shr $0.09 vs year-ago EPS $0.11
* Revenue down 12 pct
* Gold production down to 103,204 ounces
* 2009 production guidance unchanged
April 30 (Reuters) - Centerra Gold CG.TO posted a first-quarter loss, hurt by reduced gold production and sales volumes and higher operating expenses.
Centerra, which is controlled by Canadian uranium miner Cameco Corp (CCO.TO), posted a loss of $20.3 million, or 9 cents a share, in the quarter ended March 31. That was down from a profit of $23.7 million, or 11 cents a share, before unusual items, in the year-before quarter.
Revenue fell about 12 percent to $98.4 million.
Analysts polled by Reuters Estimates had expected, on average, a profit of 1 cent per share.
The company announced last week it has reached an agreement with the Kyrgyz government over an ownership agreement for the Kumtor gold mine, which is Centerra’s main asset.
Concern that the country could nationalize the mine has weighed on the company’s shares for two years.
Under the agreement, the Kyrgyzstan will raise its stake in the company to as much as 33 percent from 15.66 percent, while Cameco will reduce its stake to 37.8 percent from 52.66 percent. The agreement also includes a simplified tax structure for the mine.
Cameco also plans to completely sell off its Centerra stake at some point after the agreement is ratified.
Kumtor is the biggest industrial enterprise in the Central Asian country.
Gold output for Centerra, which also operates the smaller Boroo mine in Mongolia, fell to 103,204 ounces from 120,395 ounces a year ago.
Cash costs were $871 per ounce while realized gold prices were $915 per ounce in the first quarter.
Centerra still expects to produce between 720,00 ounces and 770,000 ounces of gold this year, including between 560,000 ounces and 600,000 ounces from Kumtor.
Total cash cost for 2009 is expected to be in the range of $465 to $505 per ounce for both Kumtor and Boroo operations.
Centerra shares, which have gained more than 60 percent in the past one month, closed Wednesday at C$7.27 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
Reporting by Krishna Chaithanya in Bangalore; Editing by Aradhana Aravindan