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Barrick profit climbs on lower costs, higher gold prices

TORONTO, Feb 15 (Reuters) - Barrick Gold Corp said on Wednesday that fourth-quarter profits rose from last year, reflecting further cost cuts and a rise in metal prices, as the world's largest gold miner increased its dividend and planned to further pare its debt.

The Toronto-based miner reported an adjusted profit of $255 million, or 22 cents a share, up from $91 million, or 8 cents a share, in the same period a year earlier.

Barrick also said its board approved an increase in the quarterly dividend to 3 cents per share from 2 cents, and that it aimed to reduce its total debt by $2.9 billion by the end of 2018, to a debt load of $5 billion.

(Reporting by Susan Taylor; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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