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Barrick Gold posts a 78% rise in Q1 profits

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(Kitco News) - Barrick Gold (ABX:TSX) has just reported a 78% jump in first-quarter profit smashing analyst expectations. The firm said it is also on track to meet its annual forecasts.

In terms of numbers adjusted profit rose 78% to $507 million in the quarter, from $285 million a year earlier, and the Co. announced a 9 cent per share quarterly dividend.

The adjusted EPS came in at 29C vs estimates of 27C. Gold Output was in line with expectations of 1.10M/oz. Importantly, the 1st $250M return of capital tranche adds to the dividend

In the report it was noted, production in the second half is expected to be greater than the first. This is thanks in part to the ramp-up of underground mining at the Bulyanhulu mine in Tanzania and higher expected grades at Lumwana in Zambia.

In regard to comparisons between this quarter and the last, gold production fell to 1.10 million from 1.25 million ounces due partly to lower grades at its Pueblo Viejo mine in Dominican Republic.

The higher gold price helped boost Barrick's revenue from its copper mines in Chile, Saudi Arabia and Zambia by 31% from the fourth quarter. Overall earnings per share were 0.29C, ahead of analysts' estimate of 0.27C.

On the copper front, revenues increased 31% compared to the prior quarter due to stronger copper prices driving solid profitability with disciplined cost control.

Barrick CEO Mark Bristow stated he had met with the Democratic Republic of Congo's new mines minister and other officials and was continuing to work on getting $900 million belonging to its Kibali mine joint venture out of the country. He added "We have a solution, it just needs to be sanctioned by the appropriate authorities which haven't been around for a while," he said, referring to a recent government overhaul by President Felix Tshisekedi."

Bristow also said he backed the idea of South Africa-listed miners Goldfields and AngloGold Ashanti combining. Speculation has been swirling around the two companies and Sibanye-Stillwater, whose CEO Neal Froneman floated the idea of a three-way merger in March. "It would be great to see a real gold business come out of the many failed discussions that we've seen," said Bristow.

Finally, Bristow said "The rise in the gold price has prompted a resurgence of the short-termism which has plagued the market, with some investors focusing on short-term gains rather than sustainable growth. But Barrick is building a business for the long term and our focus remains firmly on the future and on the creation and delivery of long-term value to our shareholders and all our other stakeholders.".

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