UPDATE 2-Barrick sees 15% drop in quarterly gold output on COVID-19 hit, dispute

(Adds details on copper, background on PNG)

July 16 (Reuters) - Barrick Gold Corp said on Thursday it expected a 15% decline in second-quarter gold production due to coronavirus-induced disruptions at an Argentinian mine and a dispute in Papua New Guinea.

Global miners have had to wind down operations in certain mines during the quarter to comply with government-mandated measures to contain the rapid spread of coronavirus infections.

In April, the government of Papua New Guinea refused to extend an expired lease for Porgera gold mine, forcing the world's second-largest gold miner to put the mine on care and maintenance and lower its full-year attributable gold production forecast.

Barrick and China's Zijin Mining, which each own 47.5% of the Porgera mine, last week approached the World Bank's International Centre to try to settle the dispute.

Toronto-based Barrick said production was also hit by a planned shutdown at its Pueblo Viejo mine in the Dominican Republic.

The miner on Thursday said it anticipates second-quarter gold production of 1.15 million ounces, compared with 1.35 million ounces a year earlier. Copper output is expected to be up 24% at 120 million pounds.

Average market price for gold rose 30% to $1,711 per ounce in the quarter ended June 30.

Gold prices have surged about 19% this year on strong demand for the safe-haven asset as the COVID-19 pandemic ravaged the global economy.

Barrick is scheduled to report its second-quarter results on Aug. 10. (Reporting by Shradha Singh and Shanti S Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel and Sriraj Kalluvila)

07/16/2020 14:17

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