(Corrects to fix typo in paragraph 1)
Feb 11 (Reuters) - Australia’s Newcrest Mining Ltd on Thursday posted an underlying half-year profit that nearly doubled as it benefitted from higher realised gold prices and a rise in production at its flagship mine in New South Wales.
Underlying profit of the country’s largest listed gold miner rose to $553 million for the half year ended Dec. 31 from $280 million in the same period a year earlier.
Realised gold prices were $1,826 per ounce, compared with $1,446 a year earlier, Newcrest said in a statement.
Newcrest declared an interim dividend of 15 cents per share, while targeting a total annual dividend payout of 30-60% of free cash flow.
The company maintained its previously stated full-year gold and copper forecast, but said it was expecting all-in sustaining costs (AISC) expenditure for the full year to be near the top end of the $1,800 to $1,950 per ounce estimated range.
The Melbourne-based company also said it was expecting an improvement in higher grade ore from its Lihir project in Papua New Guinea, following the completion of an optimisation study at the mine.
The miner said the project had the potential to provide an additional 1.4 million ounces of contained gold being delivered to the mill between 2022 and 2034. (Reporting by Nikhil Subba in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)