Minerals firm Saudi Arabian Mining Co (Maaden) reduced losses by 59 percent in the second quarter in 2009 but posted profit on operational levels as gold revenues rose, the firm said on Sunday.

Maaden posted a net loss of 7 million riyals ($1.87 million) in the three months to June 30, compared with a loss of 16 million riyals in the same period last year, Maaden said in a statement on the Saudi bourse website.

The company, a major mining player in the Middle East which floated in July 2008, attributed the loss to provisions for the Islamic tax of Zakat.

Operational profit for the second quarter came in at 29 million riyals compared with a loss of 32 million riyals for the same period last year, due to rising gold revenues.

Last week the company said it would develop new mines and explore others to compensate for declining gold output.

Maaden, in which the Saudi government is the largest shareholder, produced 146,000 ounces of gold in 2008, up from 143,000 ounces in 2007.

The company plans to start production at its $3 billion phosphate and fertilizers plant, a joint-venture with Saudi Basic Industries Corp, in 2010.

In May, Maaden said it would continue with its plan to develop a 740,000 tonne-per-year aluminum smelter project after Rio Tinto Alcan abandoned its 49 percent stake. Maaden reduced the cost of the project by 20 percent to $8 billion and is open to an investment stake of 49 percent. [nLJ502458]

(Reporting by Asma Alsharif; Editing by Ulf Laessing, Riyadh newsroom, +966 1 463 2603, asma.alsharif@thomsonreuters.com) ($1=3.750 Saudi Arabian Riyal)