February 13, 2019 / 10:44 PM / 6 months ago

UPDATE 1-Australia's Newcrest Mining profit surges on record production at Cadia

(Adds sales, production details, background)

Feb 14 (Reuters) - Newcrest Mining Ltd, Australia’s top gold miner, on Thursday said its first-half profit more than doubled, buoyed by record gold and copper production at its Cadia operations.

First-half results were also boosted by a weakening of the Australian dollar, which helped control costs at its Australian operations, the company said.

Copper production during the first-half came in at 51.8 thousand tonnes, a jump of 33 percent, while sales revenue rose less than 1 percent to $1.73 billion for first-half of fiscal 2018, the company reported.

Underlying profit for the six months ended Dec. 31 came in at $237 million, up from $116 million a year ago. UBS had estimated net profit after tax of $223 million.

Gold production for the half-year climbed to 1.2 million ounces, about 6 percent higher than last year, while all-in sustaining cost fell 13 percent to $747 per ounce.

The company said it expects total capital expenditure for fiscal 2019 to be around the lower end of the forecast it issued last month of between $590 million and $690 million.

In December, the miner raised its holdings in Ecuador gold and copper developer SolGold Plc, in a move that strengthened its position as the biggest investor ahead of rival BHP Group.

Gold producers have been on a deal-making spree in a bid to boost their waning reserves amid higher bullion prices.

Newcrest is seen by analysts as the likely candidate to combine with a North American rival, following recent acquisitions by major mining companies Barrick Gold and Newmont Mining.

The company also announced an interim dividend of 7.5 cents per share, the same as last year. (Reporting by Rashmi Ashok and Niyati Shetty in Bengaluru; Editing by David Gregorio and Bill Berkrot)

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