* Focusing now on building projects in its pipeline
* Goldcorp shares up after Q4 results top expectations
TORONTO, Feb 25 (Reuters) - Canadian mining major Goldcorp (G.TO) plans to turn most of its attention this year toward developing its large portfolio of gold projects spread across the Americas, Chief Executive Chuck Jeannes said.
“Our focus is going to be delivering value to shareholders from the various projects that we have at different stages of development in the pipeline,” said Jeannes in an interview with Reuters late on Thursday.
“This is where we are going to be devoting most of our attention,” he said. “We enhanced the portfolio dramatically over the last couple of years and now we have those projects in front of us and it’s time to build them.”
The Vancouver-based precious metals miner has been in an active deal mode over the last several years, and in just the past year alone it outbid and outmaneuvered rivals on three large deals.
Goldcorp has also sold a number of noncore assets and investments as it continues to hone in on mines with lower operating costs.
The emphasis on lower-cost mines was evident in the fourth-quarter and full-year results that Goldcorp reported on Thursday. Its earnings breezed past expectations, sending its shares up more than 2 percent in both New York and Toronto on Friday. [ID:nN24290403]
The company also raised its annual dividend payout and said its board has approved the full-scale development of two key projects in Canada -- the Eleonore project in Quebec and the Cochenour project in Ontario. The two projects, which are expected to begin operating in late 2014, will raise Goldcorp’s output by more than 850,000 ounces annually.
Over the course of the last decade, Goldcorp has more than tripled its annual gold output to more than 2.5 million ounces and expanded from a mid-tier gold company into one of the industry’s fastest growing majors.
Since Jeannes took over the reins in early 2009, Goldcorp’s shares have risen close to 50 percent, making it the top performer among its North American peers over the period.
Jeannes, who began his career as a lawyer specializing in minerals transactions, said the market has driven up valuations in the mining sector.
“We think we were able to find some good deals among the things that were available,” he said. “If you look, you can continue to find some, but our focus is going to be on building our new mines.” (Reporting by Euan Rocha; editing by Peter Galloway)