Barrick Gold Corp., the world's largest gold mining company, said Wednesday its first-quarter profit rose 3 percent as a big jump in sales and a higher selling price offset rising costs and slightly less gold production. 

The Toronto-based company also increased its dividend and maintained its full-year gold production guidance of 7.3 million ounces to 7.8 million ounces at a total cash costs between $520 per ounce to $560 per ounce.

Net income for the January-to-March period climbed to $1.03 billion, or $1.03 per share, compared with $1 billion, or $1 per share, in last year's first quarter.

Excluding one-time events, the Toronto-based company had income of $1.09 billion, or $1.09 per share, compared with $1 billion, or $1 per share, a year earlier - an 8 percent improvement.

Revenue jumped 18 percent to $3.64 billion.

Gold production fell to 1.88 million ounces from 1.96 million ounces. 

Total production costs for gold production rose to $737 per ounce from $595 per ounce, and Barrick's gold cash margin jumped 20 percent to $1,146 per ounce.

Copper production rose to 117 million ounces from 75 million ounces, and total copper production costs increased $2.67 per pound from $1.46 per pound.

The company authorized a quarterly dividend of 20 cents per share, which equates to 80 cents per share on an annualized basis and represents a 33 percent increase from the previous quarterly dividend of 15 cents per share. The quarterly dividend is payable on June 15 to shareholders on record as of the close of business on May 31.

Shares fell 64 cents to $40.44 in premarket trading.