Barrick Gold, the world’s largest gold producer, said its first-quarter profit has more than doubled compared with that of a year ago.

The company’s net income for the first three months of 2010 stood at $758bn compared with $371m during the same period in 2009.

Adjusted earnings for the quarter increased 149% to $741 from $298 a year ago on higher production and sales along with lower total cash costs and higher realised prices for gold and copper.

The company’s first-quarter gold production was up by 19% to 2.08 million ounces and it expects to increase production from 7.6 to 8.0 million ounces in 2010.

The company produced 716,000oz of attributable gold last year and aims to boost annual output by 40% to over one million ounces within four years.