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TORONTO, Feb 15 (Reuters) - Canada's No. 2 gold miner, Goldcorp, reported a 23 percent increase in operating profit on Wednesday, driven largely by a sharp rise in the price of bullion.
The Vancouver, British Columbia-based miner also said its proven and probable gold mineral reserves increased by 8 percent to 64.7 million ounces in 2011, while its measured and indicated gold resources rose 10 percent to 28.2 million ounces, on the back of continued success in its exploration program.
After excluding impairment charges related to equity investments, certain non-cash revisions in mine-closure costs and other one-time items, the company reported earnings of $531 million, or 66 cents a share, up from a year-earlier profit of $431 million, or 59 cents a share.
Net income for the quarter ended Dec. 31 was $405 million, or 39 cents a share, down from $556 million, or 75 cents a share, when its results were boosted by a large gain from discontinued operations.
Revenue rose 15 percent to $1.52 billion as a 21 percent increase in average realized gold prices more than offset the impact of declines in the prices of byproducts such as copper and lead.
Goldcorp reiterated that it expects a 4 percent increase in 2012 gold production with output rising to 2.6 million ounces. Total cash costs are expected to be between $250 to $275 per ounce of gold on a byproduct basis and between $550 to $600 an ounce of gold on a co-product basis.
"Beginning in 2012, the first of four major new sources of gold production is expected to come on line that will drive a 70 percent increase in overall gold production by 2016," Chief Executive Chuck Jeannes said in a statement.
The world's top gold miner, Barrick Gold, and its joint venture partner Goldcorp are expected to begin production from their Pueblo Viejo project in the Dominican Republic later this year.