Lihir sets production record

Lihir Gold has joined the ranks of one million ounce producers.

Lihir Gold has recorded production in excess of one million ounces for the first time in its history, the company has announced.

The Tier 1 gold miner’s production for 2009 was a record 1.12 million ounces, a 27% increase on the previous year.

The December quarter alone was particularly strong for the company, mining 278,000 ounces for the period, up 19% on the September quarter.

While the vast majority of the production came from the company’s flagship Lihir Island mine, which produced a record 853,391 ounces, its Mt Rawdon and 90%-owned Bonikro operations also performed well, producing 107,780 ounces and 150,023 ounces respectively.

“This strong result confirms the enhanced reliability of the Lihir Island operation following the various improvements implemented over recent years which have enabled plant throughputs to be significantly increased and made more consistent,” Lihir acting chief executive Phil Baker said.

Lihir’s Ballarat gold mine produced only 12,565 ounces for the year, which has in part led to its upcoming sale.

“The process for the sale of the operation proceeded and is expected to be completed by the end of the first quarter,” Baker said.

In a year when gold prices broke records multiple times, Lihir’s average realised cash price in the December quarter was a record $1,096/oz on sales of 296,000 ounces.

For the full year, the company sold 1.13 million ounces at an average realised price of $956/oz.

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