5 May 2011 AFRICAN Barrick Gold (ABG), Tanzania's largest gold miner, produced 173,097 ounces of gold in the first quarter of 2011 and saw its revenues increasing by 20 per cent from 221 million US dollars (over 330bn/-) in the corresponding quarter last year to 267 million US dollars (over 400bn/-). ABG has four producing mines, all located in North West Tanzania and several exploration projects at various stages of development. "All our four mines delivered to our expectations for the quarter," says ABG Chief Executive Officer Greg Hawkins, noting that Bulyanhulu has continued to build on the progress made last year while the waste stripping programme at North Mara was moving along as expected. The CEO says in the quarterly report that production levels have improved at Buzwagi and that Tulawaka has renewed momentum following the mine life extension. "As we move into the second half of the year, we expect to see additional production and improvement in cash costs, as a result of operational scheduling, in line with our current guidance," says Mr Hawkins. The mining giant had its cash costs surging 28 per cent to 658 US dollars per ounce due to the impact of waste stripping at North Mara and ongoing higher costs projects at Buzwagi, both of which are expected to decline over the course of the year. Despite an increase in cash costs, the company's cash margin per ounce of gold sold - an average realised price less the average cash cost per ounce sold - increased to 734 US dollars during the quarter, representing a 24 per cent rise from 594 US dollars in the corresponding quarter last year. But, the average realised gold price of 1,392 US dollars per ounce was up 25 per cent year-on-year, says the CEO, adding that the company portfolio of projects continued to lay foundations for future growth in production, with three feasibility studies on target to finalise this year. With a net profit for the quarter of 50.4 million US dollars against the previous year's 53.1 million US dollars, the company's earning per share (EPS) dropped to 12.3 cents from 12.9 cents for the same period last year. The company has attributed the decreased EPS to depreciation of higher fixed asset base than prior years, an increase in finance expenses relating to charges associated with the credit facility and a higher non-controlling interest expense as a result of the improved Tulawaka earnings performance. ABG increased its capital expenditure by about 38 per cent from 37.6 million US dollars last year to 51.4 million as a result of key investment projects - the deferred stripping at the Gokona and Nyabirama open pits, the water treatment plant and the tailings storage facility expansion at North Mara, the Bulyanhulu underground infrastructure development and the Tulawaka life of mine extension.