Barrick Gold forecasts higher production in 2024, beats profit estimate

(Reuters) -Canadian miner Barrick Gold on Wednesday projected higher gold production in 2024 after beating fourth-quarter profit on strong prices and output of the precious metal.

U.S.-listed shares rose nearly 2% in premarket trade after the world’s second largest gold producer also announced a new share repurchase program of up to $1 billion.

Barrick expects gold production to range between 3.9 million ounces and 4.3 million ounces this year, compared with 4.05 million ounces in 2023.

The company expects its Porgera gold mine in Papua New Guinea to produce 50,000 to 70,000 ounces during the year. The mine was placed on care and maintenance in 2020 following a dispute over benefit sharing as part of the lease renewal.

Gold production rose 1.4% to 1.05 million ounces while the average realized price per ounce increased 3% to $1,986 in the fourth quarter, from the previous quarter.

“Nevada Gold Mines had a stronger fourth quarter on the back of higher grades and operational improvements, while Pueblo Viejo advanced the commissioning of the expansion plant, addressing most of the equipment failures,” the company said.

Average spot gold prices rose more than 13% in the quarter on a softer dollar and hopes that the U.S. Federal Reserve would cut interest rates this year.

The miner’s copper production rose marginally to 113 millions pounds.

The company reported an adjusted profit of 27 cents per share for the three months ended Dec. 31, beating average analysts’ estimate of 21 cents, according to LSEG data.

(Reporting by Tanay Dhumal in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Sriraj Kalluvila)