Newmont Mining Net Falls

Cost pressure offset higher sales.
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Newmont Mining's

(NEM) - Get Report

fourth-quarter earnings fell 67% from a year ago, as high costs and writedowns offset a 9% rise in sales.

The gold and copper miner earned $62 million, or 14 cents a share, in the quarter, compared with $190 million, or 42 cents a share, a year ago. On a continuing operations basis, fourth-quarter earnings were $72 million, or 16 cents a share; the figure included pretax asset and goodwill writedowns totaling $82 million.

Analysts had been forecasting earnings of 36 cents a share in the latest quarter, presumably excluding the writedowns.

Sales were $1.31 billion, up from $1.20 billion a year ago. Analysts had been forecasting $1.40 billion in the latest quarter.

Newmont said its consolidated gold sales totaled 2.4 million ounces at an average realized price of $472 an ounce in the fourth quarter. Costs applicable to sales were $230 an ounce in the quarter.

"For 2005, we again generated industry-leading operating cash flow, despite lower earnings resulting from industrywide cost pressures and the impact of several noncash accounting writedowns," Newmont said. "We also achieved our goal of replacing depletion for the fourth straight year.

"As we look to 2006 and beyond, we are excited about the opportunities our newest initiatives will provide to improve our cost structure and competitive position in the industry. This year we will complete the Phoenix and Leeville projects in Nevada, plus the Ahafo project in Ghana. In 2008, we expect to complete the Nevada power plant, the Akyem project in Ghana, and the Boddington project in Australia."