African Barrick Gold reports fall in 2012 output

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LONDON (ShareCast) - African Barrick Gold (LSE: ABG.L - news) 's shares edged lower Thursday after the group posted a 9 per cent decline in 2012 full-year production.

The FTSE 250 Tanzania-focused gold company reported 626 212 oz production last year, down from 2011's output of 688 278 oz.

Full-year sales of gold dropped 13% to 609 252 oz, compared with the 699 539 oz sold in the prior year.

However, fourth-quarter output rose 13% year-on-year and 22% quarter-on-quarter thanks to improved throughput at the group's Buzwagi operation and increased head grade at the North Mara and Buzwagi mines.

African Barrick reported gold production of 180,684 ounces and sales of 159,585 ounces in the three months to the end of December 2012.

Full-year cash costs per ounce sold were expected to be in line with guidance of between $900/oz to $950/oz.

Chief Executive, Greg Hawkins, said: "We are pleased to deliver a significant step up in production in the fourth quarter in line with our expectations.

"The performance of Buzwagi is particularly satisfying and our
focus is now on maintaining the improvement in virtually all of its operating metrics."

He said the company has made considerable progress in strengthening the business through the renewal of mining licences.

"With the performance in 2012 as the base going into 2013, we are undertaking a full operational review to ensure the business has the optimum production and cost profile for the operating environment we are in, so that we can drive returns and free cash flow generation."

RD