TORONTO - Barrick Gold Corp. (TSX:ABX) is reporting a steep drop in its first-quarter adjusted net earnings to $238 million, or 20 cents per share, from $923 million, or 92 per share, in the same quarter in 2013.
The mining company says the drop in adjusted net earnings is due to a decrease in metal prices and lower gold sales volume.
Net earnings for the first quarter were down at $88 million, or eight cents per share, compared with net earnings of $847 million, or 85 cents per share, year-over-year.
Revenues were down at $2.6 billion compared with $3.4 billion year-over-year.
Barrick said it was impacted by such items as foreign currency translation losses and the ramp down of the Pascua-Lama mining project on the border of Chile and Argentina in the quarter.
Earlier this week, merger talks between Barrick and Newmont Mining Corp. collapsed and turned into a spat over who was to blame.
Both companies blamed the other for the failure to come to an merger agreement between two of the world's largest gold producers.
A merger has long been speculated because he would allow the gold miners to combine their operations in Nevada and save millions in overhead, supply contracts and staffing.
The earnings come ahead of founder Peter Munk's final meeting as chairman of Barrick.
The gold miner, which has taken billions in impairment charges over the last two years, has struggled in recent years and its stock trades for less than half of what it did less than two years ago.
Barrick was forced to stop work at its Pascua-Lama project in South America last year after massive cost overruns and a court ruling that put construction on hold until Barrick completes work to protect the water systems as part of its environmental commitments.
In recent months, Barrick has shed what it deemed non-core operations and worked to reduce its debt. It has sold several smaller mines in Australia, a minority stake in a mine in Nevada as well as a portion of its stake in African Barrick Gold, and raised nearly $3 billion in an stock offering that was used to repay debt.
The company also revamped its board and its executive compensation process after shareholders turned down an advisory vote on Barrick's approach to executive pay at its annual meeting last year.