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Aaron Regent, president and CEO of Barrick Gold.

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

Barrick Gold Corp. says its profits rose 45 per cent to a record $1.37-billion (U.S.) in the third quarter, helped by the strength of gold prices in the period.

The Toronto-based company says the results were equal to $1.37 per share, coming in above analyst expectations of $1.34 per share, according to Thomson Reuters.

The profits were an improvement from net income of $942-million, or 96 cents per share a year earlier.

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When filtering out one-time gains, profits were $1.39-billion, or $1.39 per share, rising from $912-million or 93 cents a share.

Revenues increased to $4-billion, better than analyst targets of $3.89-billion, and up from $2.79-billion in the same period of 2010.

Gold production was also higher at 1.93 million ounces with a total cash cost of $453 an ounce.

"We remain on track to achieve our original full year operating targets," said president and CEO Aaron Regent in a release.

"We are making good progress constructing our high return Pueblo Viejo and Pascua-Lama mines and are pleased with further positive exploration results at Goldrush and Red Hill, our new gold discoveries in Nevada."

On Wednesday, the world's biggest gold miner increased its quarterly dividend by 25 per cent, fortified by strong earnings and a bullish outlook on the price of gold.

The payment will rise to 15 cents per share, up from 12 cents, for shareholders of record on Nov. 30. It will be paid on Dec. 15.

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The increase by Barrick was followed by an announcement by Newmont Mining Corp., one of the world's largest mining companies, that it would increase its dividend by 17 per cent to 35 cents per share.

Mr. Regent told an investor conference in September that Barrick would look to increase its dividends and share buybacks as it rode a wave of record gold prices.

He noted at the time the company was much stronger than it was even just three or four months ago and said that would play into any decision regarding dividend increases or buybacks.

Barrick is also working to develop the Donlin Gold project, which it holds jointly with NovaGold Resources .

Costs estimates at that project recently jumped by more than 50 per cent to $7-billion, pushed higher by the addition of a $1-billion for a natural gas pipeline to feed a power plant that will produce electricity for the planned mine.

Barrick owns and operates gold mines in Canada, Peru, and Australia and has major projects in the Dominican Republic, Nevada, and on the Argentina-Chile border.

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