* Production seen in line with 2009, cash costs to rise
* Paracatu performance improving, CEO says
* Capital spending of $550 mln seen this year
(In U.S. dollars, unless noted)
TORONTO, Jan 14 (Reuters) - Kinross Gold (K.TO) said on Thursday its 2010 gold production is on track to meet previous estimates, while output at its troubled Paracatu mine in Brazil is running slightly ahead of forecasts in the fourth quarter.
The gold miner, Canada’s third-largest, should produce about 2.2 million gold equivalent ounces this year, about even with 2.23 million ounces it said it produced in 2009.
Problems ramping up Paracatu forced the company to chop its 2009 production forecast from as much as 2.5 million ounces last year, but Kinross Chief Executive Tye Burt said in a statement that the operation’s performance has stabilized.
“We are adding a third ball mill at the Paracatu expansion, and expect to complete installation and commissioning in the first half of 2011,” he said.
Cash costs per ounce in 2010 are expected to be in the range of $460-$490, up from $435-$450 last year. Capital spending is expected at $550 million, $90 million of which will go for the new ball mill — used to grind ore into a fine powder — at Paracatu.
(Reporting by Cameron French; Editing by Frank McGurty)