Bengaluru — Canadian miner Barrick Gold said on Thursday its fourth-quarter gold production rose 4.4% from the previous quarter, partly due to higher output at its Pueblo Viejo mine in the Dominican Republic.

Gold prices touched record highs in 2020, as investors flocked to the safe haven asset while the Covid-19 pandemic roiled the markets. In the fourth quarter, market prices averaged $1,875 per ounce, 26.4% higher than a year earlier.

Total preliminary gold production rose to 1.21-million ounces in the quarter ended December 31 from 1.16-million ounces in the previous quarter.

Preliminary gold production for the full year of 4.8-million ounces is at the midpoint of the 4.6-million to 5-million ounce guidance range.

Output at the Pueblo Viejo rose 23.26% to 159,000 ounces of gold. Fourth-quarter output also got a boost from the ramp-up of operations at Bulyanhulu mine in Tanzania and ongoing improvement at Turquoise Ridge in Nevada.

Barrick, scheduled to report fourth-quarter results on February 18, said it expects all-in sustaining costs for gold, a key industry metric, to decrease 3% to 5% compared with the third quarter.

Copper production also rose 15.5% to £119m, as plant maintenance at Lumwana in Zambia was completed in the third quarter. All-in sustaining costs per pound of copper were expected to be 4% to 6% higher than third quarter.

Shares of the company rose as much as 1.4% in early trading. They were trading up 0.6% at $23.73 in Toronto.

The company's preliminary full-year gold production of 4.8-million ounces and 457-million pounds of copper production fell within the range it had earlier forecast.


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