April 19, 2012 / 7:03 AM / in 6 years

RPT-UPDATE 1-African Barrick production falls 17 pct

* Q1 attributable gold production at 144,643 oz

* Q1 cash cost $925/oz, up 41 pct

* Keeps 2012 output target of 675,000-725,000 oz

April 18 (Reuters) - African Barrick Gold posted a 17 percent fall in gold production in the first quarter, partly due to lower head grades at its Buzwagi mine in Tanzania.

The Tanzania-focused miner produced 144,643 ounces of attributable gold in the quarter.

Power outages at its mines held back output in the final quarter last year, with the company’s full-year production falling 2 percent to 688,278 ounces.

African Barrick, a unit of Barrick Gold Corp, the world’s largest gold miner, reported a 41 percent surge in costs to $925 per ounce for the quarter, well ahead of its full-year estimate of $790 to $860 per ounce.

Costs jumped 22 percent last year on the back of rising inflation, higher wages and increased use of more expensive generator power to keep mines working.

Rising costs have hurt African Barrick’s market capitalisation, with shares falling 15 percent in the first quarter even as gold prices rose more than 6 percent during the period.

The company’s London-listed shares closed at 368.9 pence on Wednesday on the London Stock Exchange.

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