UPDATE 1-Newmont posts $2 bln loss after charge, gold prices drop
July 26 (Reuters) - Top U.S. gold miner Newmont Mining Corp on Friday posted a $2 billion second-quarter loss after a sharp drop in gold prices and an impairment charge related to two Australian mines.
Newmont said the one-time $1.8 billion charge was primarily tied to two of its Australian mines, Boddington and Tanami, where lower gold and copper prices have lowered the value of property, plant and mine development.
The Denver-based miner had a loss attributable to common shareholders of $4.06 per share. A year earlier, it recorded a net profit of $279 million, or 56 cents per share.
Shares were down 2.3 percent at $29.25 in premarket trade.
Newmont, which pays a quarterly dividend linked to the price of gold, declared a payout of 25 cents a share, down from 35 cents in the previous quarter, as its average realized gold price slid 13 percent to $1,386 per ounce.
Gold prices have fallen sharply this year, hitting a near 3-year low of about $1,180 an ounce in late June. That has prompted gold producers to slash capital spending, exploration expenses and other costs.
Rival gold miner Goldcorp Inc also posted a $2 billion charge on Thursday related to the lower exploration value at its Penasquito mine in Mexico.
Newmont, which is trying to improve operating efficiency, said a plan to reduce its corporate workforce by one-third was on track and a similar effort was underway at its regional offices.
Cost-cutting has resulted in a $362 million reduction in year-to-date spending, compared with the first half of 2012, the company said.
Adjusted to remove one-time items, Newmont's loss was $50 million, or 10 cents per share. Analysts expected a profit of 42 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
The company said $1.5 billion of its non-cash impairment charge was related to the Australian mines, with a $272 million charge tied to stockpiles and ore on leach pads.
Attributable gold production was down 1 percent at 1.17 million ounces, while sales rose 6 percent to 1.2 million ounces. Copper output fell 11 percent to 34 million pounds, while sales rose 23 percent to 37 million pounds.
Total revenue fell 11 percent to $2 billion.
All-in sustaining costs were $1,136 an ounce in the quarter, and Newmont said it remained on track for full-year all-in costs of $1,100 to $1,200 an ounce.
All-in sustaining costs are a new measurement that includes the cost of sustaining capital and other general and corporate expenses not included in traditional cash costs.