By Ernest Scheyder and Rithika Krishna
(Reuters) -Barrick Gold Corp, on Wednesday doubled its quarterly dividend after beating Wall Street estimates for profit on the back of higher gold and copper prices.
Realized gold prices rose 5.6% to $1,876 per ounce in the first quarter from a year earlier, while copper jumped near 14% to $4.68 per pound.
Gold prices scaled above $2,000 an ounce in early March as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine burnished its safe-haven appeal.
The quarter’s results and the dividend showed the company is solving some integration challenges from its 2018 buyout of Randgold Resources, Barrick Chief Executive Officer Mark Bristow said in an interview.
“A lot of the issues that have been worrying some people (about Barrick) have been addressed,” Bristow told Reuters. “There were a lot of big steps made this quarter.”
The company nearly doubled its quarterly dividend to 20 cents per share.
Like at other miners, gold production fell 10.1% to 990,000 ounces in the quarter, Barrick said, dented by lower output at its Nevada gold mines.
Omicron-variant caused labor shortages and other disruptions have forced miners to grapple with lower output. Rival Newmont Corp in February warned of a hit of as much as 150,000 ounces in the first quarter.
Barrick said on Wednesday it has built up a “strategic inventory” of key commodities in response to rampant inflation and supply chain challenges, exacerbated by the conflict in Ukraine.
The company’s all-in sustaining costs, an industry metric that reflects total costs associated with production, rose to $1,164 per ounce of gold, from $1,018 a year earlier.
Barrick’s shares rose 1.29% to C$29.16. They have gained 21% so far this year.
First-quarter adjusted earnings per share of 26 cents was above estimates of 24 cents, according to Refinitiv IBES.
(Reporting by Rithika Krishna in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri and Sriraj Kalluvila)