(Reuters) -Canadian miner Barrick Gold Corp on Tuesday reported a 13.4% sequential rise in gold production in what could be its highest quarterly output last year, driven by strong performances from its mines in Nevada and Ivory Coast.
Gold prices gained 9.9% during the October-December quarter, the best since mid-2020. They have continued their upward trend this year as cooling U.S. inflation raised hopes for slower interest rate hikes from the Federal Reserve.
Lower interest rates tend to boost bullion, decreasing the opportunity cost of holding the non-yielding asset.
Barrick said in October that access to high-grade ore, which essentially contains more gold, at its Nevada mines would drive the company to a “strong finish” in the fourth quarter.
The miner had previously expected high-grade ore in late third-quarter.
Carlin and Cortez mines are part of Nevada Gold Mines, a joint venture between Barrick and Newmont Corp. Tongon mine in Ivory Coast also reported higher output.
Barrick on Tuesday reported total preliminary gold output of 1.1 million ounces in the quarter ended Dec. 31, up from 988,000 ounces.
The company said it expects all-in sustaining costs per ounce of gold, an industry metric that reflects total expenses, to fall about 1% to 3% from the previous quarter.
Copper production during the quarter fell 22% sequentially to 96 million pounds, due to lower throughput as well as lower grades at Lumwana mine in Zambia.
Barrick, which is scheduled to post its fourth-quarter results on Feb. 15, said Copper’s AISC is expected to rise in the range of 26% to 28% from the previous quarter.
(Reporting by Sourasis Bose in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)