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Canadian miner Barrick Gold Corp.’s fourth-quarter gold production estimates came above analysts’ expectations on Thursday, as its Nevada Gold Mines joint venture with Newmont Corp. yielded more of the precious metal.

The company said it expects the joint venture – the world’s biggest gold complex – to produce 585 million ounces of gold for the three months ended Dec. 31.

Total preliminary gold production rose 14 per cent to 1.44 million ounces from a year earlier, while analysts were expecting 1.40 million ounces of gold, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

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Nevada Gold Mines was formed last year after Barrick pulled its $18-billion hostile bid for Newmont Corp, the world’s largest gold producer, and combined assets with the rival. They both expect to save more than $5-billion over the next 20 years.

Last year, Barrick also acquired Africa-focused Rangold Resources to boost its gold reserves and grades. Gold gained about 18 per cent in 2019, fuelled by investors seeking safe-haven assets on the back of global recessionary fears triggered by the long-drawn-out trade spat between the United States and China, the world’s two largest economies.

Barrick, the world’s second-largest gold producer, also benefited from the resumption of operations at its Tanzanian North Mara mine in the fourth quarter, following the lifting of restrictions at the tailings storage facility in September.

The company’s copper output gained 7.3 per cent to 117 million pounds in the quarter, while it sold 91 million pounds of copper.

Barrick also said it expects a quarter-over-quarter decrease in total cash costs per gold ounce and all-in sustaining costs per ounce of about 1 per cent to 3 per cent and 6 per cent to 8 per cent, respectively.

U.S.-listed shares of the miner edged higher in premarket trade.

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