Barrick Gold

(ABX)

said first quarter earnings fell from a year ago, reflecting an accounting charge, higher amortization costs and lower production due to the closure of several mines.

The Toronto mining company said it earned $29 million, or 5 cents a share, in the latest quarter, down from $46 million, or 9 cents a share, last year. The latest quarter included a 4-cent accounting charge; analysts had been predicting earnings of 6 cents a share. The company said it sold 1.3 million ounces of gold at an average realized price of $355 an ounce in the latest period, compared with 1.5 million ounces at an average price of $329 an ounce last year.

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The company also cited lower grades at its Betze-Post mine, and higher energy, royalty and exploration costs, the latter reflecting continued expensing of exploration and development work at its Veladero site.

"Results for the quarter offered up no surprises," the company said in a releasee. "While production was somewhat better than plan, costs were near the upper end of the range due to higher gold linked expenses. We are on track for improved performance as the year progresses."