Net income rises 57 percent for Barrick Gold

Barrick Gold reported on Thursday that net income in the fourth quarter was up 57% to US$947 million or 95 cents a share, a record result for the world's-largest gold miner.

In the same quarter in 2009, Barrick reported US$604 million net income or 61 cents a share.

The company produced 1.7 million ounces of gold at a total cash cost of $486 per ounce. Gold production in 2011 is expected to be similar to 2010.

"The company expects 2011 gold production to be in a comparable range to 2010 at 7.6-8.0 million ounces at total cash costs of $450-$480 per ounce or net cash costs of $340-$380 per ounce. Higher expected gold cash costs for 2011 primarily reflect lower grades and higher labor costs in South America and Australia. Production is anticipated to increase to 9 million ounces within the next five years and total cash costs are expected to benefit from low cost projects, primarily Pueblo Viejo and Pascua-Lama, as these mines come on stream," said the company in a news release.

The company states that it has "exceptional leverage to the gold price" pointing out that the average gold price increased 26% in 2010 while full year adjusted net income rose 81% to $3.28 billion.

Barrick believes that copper production will come in at 300 million pounds this year. Copper production in 2010 was 368 million pounds and 393 million pounds in 2009. Total cash costs for copper production in 2011 are anticipated to be somewhere between $1.35-$1.45 per pound. The company believes that processing costs will be higher due to increased market prices for sulfuric acid and the processing of lower grades.

Michael McCrae wrote this story. You can contact him at [email protected].