Profit nearly doubled in the first quarter at Newmont Mining Corp. (NYSE: NEM – $24.94) supported by higher copper production and sales at its Batu Hijau copper mine in Indonesia. Greenwood Village, Colorado-based Newmont, the world’s second-largest and oldest gold-mining concern, has been hurt by lower prices and falling production. In the most recent period, the average realized gold and copper price fell to $1,203 a troy ounce and $2.34 a pound, respectively, compared with $1,293 an ounce and $2.50 a pound a year earlier. For the first quarter, gold production remained largely flat at 1.21 million ounces while copper production rose to 37,000 metric tons from 24,000 metric tons a year earlier. For the quarter, Newmont reported a profit of $183 million and adjusted earnings per share of $0.46 compared with $0.24 a share a year earlier. Sales rose nearly 12% to $1.97 billion from $1.76 billion last year. Analysts expected a profit of $0.23 a share on $1.95 billion in revenue. Gross margin improved to 48.3% from 38.6% a year earlier. Newmont affirmed its guidance of gold production increasing to 4.6 million to 4.9 million ounces in 2015 and reaching 4.7 million to 5.1 million ounces by 2017. The company projects copper production of 130,000 to 160,000 metric in 2015 and said output should then level out to between 115,000 and 135,000 metric tons in 2016 and 2017. Newmont’s earnings and cash flow should progress nicely this year, assuming gold averages $1,200 an ounce. If the momentum can continue for the remainder of the year, earnings could reach $1.35 per share and a small allocation of NEM in an aggressive portfolio can be maintained for eventual recovery.