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Miner Barrick Gold Corp on Thursday reported an 18 per cent drop in third-quarter profit from the prior three-month period, weighed down by weaker gold and copper prices.

Bullion has lost some of its appeal, with prices dipping from record levels hit at the start of the health crisis due to vaccinations and the reopening of the global economy, while copper prices have retreated from their 2021 highs on weak Chinese demand.

Barrick’s realized gold price fell 2.7 per cent to $1,771 per ounce in the quarter, while it dropped nearly 13 per cent to $3.98 per pound for copper from the second.

Barrick’s 2021 production forecast is in the bottom half of the 4.4 to 4.7 million ounces estimated previously due to pandemic-related disruptions, a mill failure in Nevada and other challenges experienced in the first half of the year, Chief Executive Mark Bristow told Reuters.

Talking about the ongoing consolidation in the gold sector, Bristow said M&A was not always the right path to show value, although he conceded that Barrick’s share price “has significant upside potential”

Canada’s Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd agreed to buy rival Kirkland Lake Gold Ltd for C$13.51-billion in stock in September, a move that Bristow defined “consolidation of necessity”

The company said its gold all-in sustaining costs, an industry metric that reflects total costs associated with production, fell 4.8 per cent to $1,034 per ounce, while those of copper fell 5.1 per cent to $2.6 per pound.

Gold production rose 4.9 per cent to 1.09 million ounces in the quarter from the second, while copper output increased 4.16 per cent to 100 million pounds.

Adjusted earnings were 24 cents per share for the quarter ended Sept. 30, beating analysts’ estimate of 23 cents, according to Refinitiv IBES.

U.S.-listed shares of Barrick rose 1.5 per cent to $18.90 in early trading, reflecting a 1.2 per cent jump in gold prices.

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