Newcrest gold mines hit by lower mill rates


The Cadia site. Image: Newcrest Mining.

Newcrest Mining has delivered lower gold production across its mines in Australia and Papua New Guinea.

This includes the Cadia mine in New South Wales, which produced 8 per cent less gold in the 2020 financial year, totalling 843,338 ounces, compared with the prior period.

Output at the Lihir mine in Papua New Guinea also dropped by 17 per cent to 775,978 ounces.

The same trend continued at the Telfer mine in Western Australia, which delivered 393,164 ounces. This represents a 13 per cent drop from the prior period.

The downward trend was attributed to lower milled tonnes and recovery, while Cadia experienced an 8 per cent decrease in gold grade milled as anticipated.

However, Newcrest produced more than 30 million tonnes of ore at Cadia, achieving a record high annual mined tonnes from Cadia East thanks to a higher conveying rate.

The company also delivered an improved copper output at both Cadia and Telfer to 96,000 and 16,000 tonnes, respectively.

“Due to the considerable effort of our people to implement and sustain a range of monitoring and preventative measures the impact of COVID-19 on our operations in (the 2020 financial year) was minimal,” Newcrest managing director Sandeep Biswas said.

“Newcrest delivered a solid performance for the financial year, producing 2.2 million ounces of gold at an (all-in sustaining cost) of $US862 ($1205) per ounce.”

The company set a production guidance of 680,000–760,000 ounces at Cadia for the 2021 financial year, a reduced range compared with the 2020 financial year output.

A production guidance of 720,000–820,000 ounces at Lihir and 360,000–420,000 ounces at Telfer are in line with Newcrest’s realised output for the 2020 financial year.

Newcrest aims to produce between 45,000–55,000 ounces of gold and 25,000–30,000 tonnes of copper at the newly acquired Red Chris mine in Canada.

The guidance doesn’t take into account any COVID-19 related interruptions.

“(The 2020 financial year) was a year in which we invested in the future,” Biswas said.

“We invested $US1.3 billion to acquire Red Chris and increase our exposure to Fruta del Norte and a further ­~$US400 million to progress our organic growth options and on exploration.

“We further strengthened our balance sheet to ensure we are well positioned to deliver our near-term growth options of Havieron, Red Chris and Wafi-Golpu.”

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