South Africa's Harmony Gold (HARJ.J) more than doubled its second-quarter earnings on Monday, boosted by record gold prices and said it was on track to meet its long-term production targets.
All three major South African gold producers are expected to report a solid set of earnings for the October-December quarter, boosted by a rally in the price of bullion, a survey of seven analysts showed.
Harmony, the world's fifth-largest listed gold miner, said October-December headline earnings per share totaled 69 cents, compared with 33 cents in the previous three months.
A Reuters survey had expected Harmony to report flat headline earnings. Headline earnings are the main profit gauge in South Africa and exclude certain one-time items.
Output for October-December fell by 4 percent from the preceding quarter to 323,275 ounces after an accident disrupted production at its Kusasalethu mine in October.
CEO Graham Biggs said in a statement the company was on track to meet its long-term terms, adding he was confident of meeting next quarter's targets.
Production for the 2011 financial year will most likely be between 1.45Moz and 1.5Moz, he said.
Total cash costs rose to $979 per ounce from $974 an ounce three months earlier.
The gold price received for the quarter rose 12 percent to a record $1,371 per ounce.
Expectations for gold's performance have risen sharply, with a survey of 65 leading analysts, traders and fund managers predicting gold will average $1,450 an ounce this year, well above its record high of $1,430.95 an ounce. Spot gold was trading at $1,346.45 an ounce at 0640 GMT.
Shares of Harmony are down 4 percent this year, underperforming a 4 percent rise in Johannesburg's Top-40 index .JTOPI of blue-chip stocks.