April 29, 2008 / 2:13 PM / in 9 years

Inmet Mining profit rises on robust metal prices

TORONTO (Reuters) - Inmet Mining IMN.TO said on Tuesday its first-quarter profit rose 5.5 percent amid higher copper and gold prices.

The Canadian metals producer earned $106.7 million, or $2.21 a share, in the quarter ended March 31, up from C$101.1 million, or $2.09 a share, a year earlier.

Analysts polled by Reuters had expected, on average, a profit of $2.09 per share.

Gross quarterly sales for the copper, zinc and gold miner fell to $276.3 million from $286.6 million.

Inmet produced 19,200 tonnes of copper and 20,300 tonnes of zinc, compared with 19,500 tonnes of copper and 22,100 tonnes of zinc in the year-earlier quarter.

Gold output climbed to 56,300 ounces from 56,000 ounces in the comparable period.

Inmet has interests in mining operations in Turkey, Papua New Guinea, Finland and Canada, and has a 70 percent stake in the Las Cruces copper mine being developed in Spain.

The company said it expects 2008 copper production of 103,800 tonnes, assuming its Las Cruces mine begins production in the fourth quarter, along with 284,500 ounces of gold and 78,700 tonnes of zinc.

Inmet also owns a 48 percent stake in the Petaquilla copper project in Panama, which has suffered severe price inflation over the past year.

The company’s shares, which have risen nearly 40 percent over the past 12 months, were off 1.5 percent, or $1.40, at $90.80 on Tuesday on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Reporting by Jonathan Spicer; Editing by Bernadette Baum

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