(Adds details, CEO and analyst comment)
By Stephen Eisenhammer
LONDON Jan 21 Tanzania-focused miner African
Barrick Gold beat its production guidance for 2013
while cutting costs in the fourth quarter, and pledged to do
more to improve operational efficiency.
However, a lower gold price will mean a cut in reserves at
the firm's Bulyanhulu project, as the FTSE 250 company switches
to using a $1,300 gold price for its calculations from $1,500.
The miner said on Tuesday it produced 641,931 ounces of gold
last year, beating its guidance by 7 percent on strong
performances from its North Mara and Buzwagi mines.
Cash costs in the fourth quarter were $774 per ounce sold,
well below 2013 guidance of $925-$975 per ounce given by Bradley
Gordon who was appointed as chief executive in August.
Analysts at Canaccord said the results were "stronger than
expected," while Gordon described them as "pleasing."
"We are starting to gain some credibility in the market now
I think," Gordon told Reuters.
African Barrick shares were up 3.5 percent in early morning
trade. The company's share price has more than doubled since
hitting a low last June.
Gordon said he would now switch his attention to driving
operational efficiencies over the next 24 months in a bid to
improve the company's profitability despite a lower gold price.
"What my focus now is on is drilling, blasting, hauling and
milling, because there hasn't been that much attention on that,"
he said, adding that improvements would focus on Bulyanhulu.
African Barrick is one of many precious metal miners
battling to turn a profit after gold recorded the steepest price
falls in a generation last year, from which it has yet to
The price of gold is over 20 percent lower than at this time
in 2013, prompting many producers to shelve projects, reduce
overheads and put non-core assets on the block.
(Reporting by Stephen Eisenhammer; Editing by Jason Neely and