(Adds details on outlook, bullion and background)
JOHANNESBURG, Feb 19 (Reuters) - South African miner Harmony Gold HARJ.J flagged on Friday a rise in interim earnings of as much as 219%, driven by higher gold prices, greater output and foreign exchange gains.
Headline earnings per share for the six months ended December 2020 are expected to come within a range of 761 cents to 795 cents, or between 205% and 219%, a surge from 249 cents in the corresponding period a year ago.
Higher bullion prices helped cushion the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic for miners, with Harmony seeing a 31% surge in the average gold price during the half year.
The South African company said it also recorded a gain on bargain purchase of between 1 billion rand ($68.49 million) and 1.2 billion rand on its acquisition of Mponeng - the world's deepest mine - and related operations from AngloGold Ashanti ANGJ.J .
The Johannesburg-listed miner assumed full ownership of the assets from rival AngloGold in October. the gold miner said gains were curbed by an increase in taxation expenses.
Half-year net profit is likely to be between 5.7 billion rand and 5.9 billion rand, Harmony Gold said, with the company's interim results due on Feb. 23.
($1 = 14.6000 rand)
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