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Harmony Gold posts profit jump, focuses on acquisition plans

Kitco News

March 1 (Reuters) - South Africa's Harmony Gold on Wednesday posted an 18% increase in its half-year profit, boosted by higher metal grades and prices, but refrained from declaring an interim dividend, citing the need to allocate capital to growth projects.

Harmony's headline earnings per share (HEPS) - the most common profit measure in South Africa - were 2.93 rand ($0.1603) in the six-month period ended Dec. 31, compared with 2.48 rand a year ago.

The miner, which also has operations in Papua New Guinea, reported a 5% decline in gold production to 740,655 ounces from 778,879 ounces in the previous year, following the closure of its Bambanani mine at the end of June 2022.

The lower output was offset by a 12% increase in the average rand gold price Harmony received during the six months - attributable to a stronger dollar - as well as a 5% improvement in average grades in the South African underground mines.

The company had stepped up its drive towards diversifying into mining copper, which is considered a key metal in plans for a low-carbon future, after acquiring Australia's Eva copper project for $170 million in December," Harmony Chief Executive Officer Peter Steenkamp said.

"This near-term copper project complements our tier 1 Wafi-Golpu copper-gold project in Papua New Guinea. These assets bolster the Harmony investment case as gold-copper specialists with a growing international footprint," Steenkamp said in a statement.

Harmony would continue to explore opportunities to acquire assets that would bolster its transformation into a global gold-copper producer, he said.

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