April 27, 2010 / 6:38 AM / 10 years ago

UPDATE 2-African Barrick Gold Q1 EBITDA more than doubles

* Q1 EBITDA $100 million vs $41 million

* Attributable production 177,095 ounces vs 126,860 ounces

* Expects to produce about 800,000-850,000 ounces this year

* Shares rise back up to IPO price of 575 pence

(Adds share price, details)

By Julie Crust

LONDON, April 27 (Reuters) - African Barrick Gold Plc (ABG) ABGL.L said first-quarter earnings jumped 143 percent in its first results since being spun off from parent firm Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO), the world’s largest gold miner, last month.

EBITDA increased to $100 million from $41 million in the year-earlier period as the start of production from the Buzwagi mine helped lift attributable gold production by 40 percent to 177,095 ounces and on higher gold prices.

It expects to produce about 800,000 to 850,000 ounces this year at a cash cost of $450 to $500 an ounce.

At 0728 GMT, the shares were up 1.8 percent at 575 pence, taking them back to the initial public offering price, valuing the company at 2.4 billion pounds ($3.7 billion). The UK mining index .FTNMX1770 was down 1.7 percent.

ABG has four producing gold mines in Tanzania of which Bulyanhulu, an underground mine, is the biggest and seven main exploration prospects.

Production rose almost 5 percent at Bulyanhulu even after operations were suspended for three days following a fatal rock fall incident.

Tanzania’s parliament passed a new mining law on Friday that increases the royalty paid on minerals such as gold to 4 percent from 3 percent and requires the government to own a stake in future mining projects. [ID:nLDE63N047]

ABG said on Tuesday that it does not believe the new law, will affect its current mines in the country.

The company produced 716,000 ounces of attributable gold last year and aims to boost annual output by 40 percent to over 1 million ounces within four years.

“With cash of $320 million, African Barrick joins Randgold RRS.L ($588 million net cash) and Petropavlovsk (POG.L)($19 million net debt) as cashed up gold miners targeting circa 1 million ounces of production by 2013,” said Liberum Capital in a research note.

ABG plans to spend $20 million on exploration this year.

Barrick Gold retains a 75 percent stake in ABG. (Editing by Erica Billingham, Mike Nesbit) ($1=.6469 pounds)

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