(Adds details on planned asset sales, financial, operating data)
April 27 (Reuters) - Barrick Gold Corp reported weaker-than-expected first-quarter earnings on Monday on the back of a lower gold price and sales and announced that it has started a process to sell a stake in its Zaldivar copper mine in Chile.
Barrick, the world's biggest gold producer by ounces mined, also said numerous companies are interested in its Cowal and Porgera mines, which it put up for sale in February. It said there was "strong interest" in Zaldivar.
The Toronto-based producer also announced what it said was a "significant" new gold discovery, known as Alturas, in Chile.
Barrick said net earnings fell to $57 million, or 5 cents a share, in the quarter to end-March from $88 million, or 8 cents a share, in the same period a year ago.
Adjusted net earnings were $62 million, or 5 cents a share, below the 10 cents a share that analysts on average were expecting, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Barrick said it produced 1.39 million ounces of gold in the first quarter at an all-in sustaining cost of $927 an ounce.
It left unchanged its production and cost forecast for the year at between 6.2 million and 6.6 million ounces of gold at all-in sustaining costs of between $860 and $895 per ounce. (Reporting by Nicole Mordant in Vancouver; Editing by Alan Crosby, Bernard Orr)