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Kinross, Yamana profits up on soaring gold price

Workers are seen at Yamana's Minera Florida mine in Chile.

VICTOR RUIZ CABALLERO/Victor Ruiz Caballero/Reuters

Kinross Gold Corp. and smaller rival Yamana Gold Inc. posted stronger quarterly profits on Tuesday, boosted by the rising price of bullion.

The results were in line with those of other North American gold miners, which have recorded hefty profits this year, driven by the jump in gold prices.

Kinross beat analyst expectations as rising realized gold prices and an 18 per cent boost in production sent its revenue to a record high.

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The Toronto-based miner, which completed a $350-million (U.S.) deal in April to gain full ownership of the Kupol mine in Russia, said earnings rose to $255.5-million, or 23 cents a share. That compared with $181.3-million, or 26 cents a share, a year earlier.

Earnings per share fell as result of a higher number of shares outstanding this year.

Adjusted net earnings were $180.3-million, or 16 cents a share, compared with $99.7-million, or 14 cents a share, in the first quarter of 2010.

Analysts had expected earnings of 14 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue for the quarter was a record $937-million, up 42 per cent from $657.6-million, as the company's average realized gold prices rose 25 per cent to $1,327 an ounce.

Production for the quarter was 642,857 gold equivalent ounces, up 18 per cent from a year earlier.

The company also boosted its full-year production outlook to 2.6 million-2.7 million ounces from 2.5 million-2.6 million ounces.

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Kinross added that it is drilling "around the clock" to define the Tasiast deposit in Mauritania, a project it acquired through its $7-billion deal to buy Red Back mining.

The company said a feasibility study due later this year is 62 per cent complete.

"Results at the main deposit continue to fulfill our expectations," chief executive officer Tye Burt said in a release.

"Encouraging results at other targets along the trend reinforce our belief that Tasiast has the potential to develop into a major gold producing district," he added.

Yamana also saw a strong first quarter, lifted by higher precious metal prices and a boost in production, but it slightly missed analyst expectations.

The Toronto-based miner said earnings increased to $148-million, or 20 cents a share, in the three months to March 31, from $132-million, or 18 cents a share, a year earlier.

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Adjusted earnings were $152.2-million, or 21 cents a share, up from $75.9-million, or 10 cents a share, just below analyst expectations of 22 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue was $476.1-million, up 37 per cent from $346.3-million. The company also announced a second-quarter dividend of 3 cents a share to be paid in July.

Production for the quarter was up 11 per cent at 267,368 gold equivalent ounces. The company plans to boost production by 60 per cent within the next three years.

"The good news here is Yamana does have several smaller projects that probably won't be as exposed to capex creep as the big companies with the big capital intensive project," said Wellington West mining analyst Steve Parsons.

"So it's better positioned to navigate inflationary pressures than many of its peers," he added.

The mining industry has been hit by rising development and cash costs, as inflation weighs on oil and metal prices.

Yamana owns producing mines in Chile, Argentina and Brazil, and has various exploration and development stage projects in Latin America.

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