UPDATE 2-Barrick Gold posts net loss on $5.7 billion charge

Thu Oct 29, 2009 8:27am EDT

* Q3 net loss $6.07 vs year-earlier profit of $0.29

* Excluding items, Q3 profit $0.54 vs $0.46 year ago

* Reiterates its 2009 gold production forecast (Adds details on results, outlook; In U.S. dollars, unless noted)

TORONTO, Oct 29 (Reuters) - Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO) reported a third-quarter net loss on Thursday as it absorbed a $5.7 billion charge to unwind gold hedges, but the Canadian miner said core earnings rose, helped by higher gold prices.

The company, the world's largest gold producer, posted a loss of $5.4 billion, or $6.07 a share, compared with a year-earlier profit of $254 million, or 29 cents a share.

Stripping out the previously announced charge and some smaller one-time items, profit rose to 54 cents a share from 46 cents.

It was not immediately clear whether that was comparable with the average estimate of 46 cents from analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue rose 11.6 percent to $2.1 billion.

The average realized gold price for the quarter was $971 per ounce, up from $874 a year earlier.

Production during the three months fell 2.1 percent to 1.9 million ounces, while cash costs eased to $456 an ounce from $466.

Barrick reiterated its full-year 2009 gold production forecast of 7.2 million to 7.6 million ounces, at total cash costs of $450 to $475 per ounce.

The company said it was on track to produce 375 million to 400 million pounds of copper this year, with cash costs at the low-end of its prior forecast of $1.25 to $1.35 per pound.

Barrick, which has more than two dozen mines in production around the world, said its Buzwagi gold mine in Tanzania has ramped up production and accounted for 87,000 ounces, at total cash costs of $315 per ounce, in the third quarter.

The company recently agreed to buy Xstrata PLC's XTA.L 70 percent stake in the El Morro copper and gold project in Chile for $465 million in cash. The deal is expected to close before Jan. 30. [ID:nLC264304] ($1= $1.07 Canadian) (Reporting by Euan Rocha and Cameron French; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

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