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Newmont Mining Corp., which topped Wall Street estimates for quarterly profit, said on Thursday it would acquire a 50-per-cent stake in a gold project in Western Canada as miners look for new reserves.

Major gold miners are racing to explore, expand and construct new mines as years of belt tightening have left them with diminishing reserves at their existing mines.

Newmont would pay US$275-million to Novagold Resources Inc. for its stake in the Galore Creek project in British Columbia. The remaining stake is held by Teck Resources Ltd.

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“Galore Creek holds the potential to support decades of profitable copper and gold production in a favorable mining jurisdiction,” Newmont chief executive Gary Goldberg said in a statement.

According to Teck, an estimated eight million ounces of gold and nine billion pounds of copper could be mined at the project.

Newmont said that while total gold production in the second quarter fell 14 per cent to 1.16 million ounces, realized gold prices rose 3.3 per cent to US$1,292 per ounce.

However, the company reaffirmed its full-year production forecast of between 4.9 million and 5.4 million ounces, which would see it overtake Canadian rival Barrick Gold Corp. as the world’s largest gold producer.

Net income attributable to shareholders rose to US$292-million, or 54 US cents a share, in the quarter ended June 30 from US$175-million, or 33 US cents a share in the corresponding year-earlier period.

Total sales fell to US$1.66-billion from US$1.88-billion.

Excluding one-time items, the company earned 26 US cents a share, while analysts on average had expected 24 US cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

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