* Q1 net profit $50.4 mln vs $53.1 mln
* Q1 gold production 173,907 ounces vs 177,095 ounces
* Gold prices rise to record for fifth consecutive session
LONDON, April 21 (Reuters) - African Barrick Gold ABGL.L said its net profit declined in the first quarter as lower production and higher costs offset rising gold prices.
Net profit fell 5 percent to $50.4 million as the miner’s production dipped 2 percent to 173,907 ounces. Cash costs jumped 28 percent to $658 an ounce.
“As we move into the second half of the year, we expect to see additional production and improvement in cash costs, as a result of operational scheduling, in line with our current guidance,” said Chief Executive Greg Hawkins.
Spot gold XAU= prices rose to $1,508 an ounce on Thursday, a record high for the fifth consecutive session. [GOL/]
African Barrick, a unit of the world’s largest gold producer Barrick Gold Corp ABX.TO, expects to produce 700,000-760,000 ounces of gold this year from around 701,000 ounces in 2010.
Last month, African Barrick said its plans to expand outside Tanzania have been helped by political unrest in Africa lowering valuations for some assets. It has focused its search on Mali, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Eritrea and Ethiopia. [ID:nLDE72K1WV]
Reporting by Julie Crust; editing by Kate Holton