Newcrest Mining is unsure exactly when the Cadia gold mine near Orange in New South Wales will restart following last week’s tailings dam breach.
The largest Australian-based gold miner has confirmed that it will miss its full-year production guidance and will be unable to fulfil copper concentrate contracts due to the incident.
Cadia was shut down after Newcrest identified a “limited breakthrough” of tailings material at the mine’s northern tailings dam embankment last Friday.
Newcrest, which is still investigating why the breach happened, has forecast that operations at the mine could be suspended for anywhere between one to six months.
The miner was able to contain the breakthrough within the southern tailings dam and has since been monitoring the impact of the incident.
It is investigating if production could resume with tailings being pumped into the unaffected southern dam or a disused surface pit, a webcast on the company’s website explained.
Newcrest chief executive Sandeep Biswas said it would take at least a month for the alternative options to be approved and operational.
“There are two stages, the formal approval process stage and then you have the construction stage. It can take anywhere between one to six months,” Biswas said.
“Even without access to tailings storage, we’re looking at whether it makes the most sense to recommence mining operations in order to stockpile ore on the surface for future years.”
The mine was also impacted for several months last year after an earthquake disrupted operations on Good Friday.