Newcrest credits Cadia performance to block cave mining

Newcrest Mining has achieved its lowest ever quarterly production costs at the Cadia gold mine in New South Wales, claiming the block cave mining technique has assisted with the improved performance.

Block caving is the underground equivalent to open pit mining that involves undermining an ore body to make it collapse under its own weight.

In Newcrest’s September 2020 quarterly report, managing director Sandeep Biswas said this had driven Cadia’s performance.

“Our world-class Cadia asset continues to impress, reporting its lowest ever quarterly all-in sustaining cost (AISC) of $US113 ($160) per ounce, equating to an AISC margin of $US1724 per ounce for the quarter,” he said.

“This showcases the strength of Newcrest’s unique technical capability as one of the few mining companies globally able to do block cave mining, which underpins Cadia’s performance.”

In October, Newcrest approved stage two of its Cadia expansion project, which has now entered the execution phase.

The expansion will increased plant capacity to 35 million tonnes per annum and increase gold and copper recoveries while reducing unit costs.

Cadia’s plant production was 17 per cent lower in the September quarter compared to the corresponding, at 197,000 ounces, while throughput was down by 10 per cent and a 6 per cent reduction to gold grades.

Newcrest said the lower throughput was due to planned maintenance and shutdowns, while the lower gold grade was in line with expectations.

The company also continued to advance its strategy of growing its presence in the Americas, after recently listing on Toronto Stock Exchange.

“We believe that this secondary listing will improve the global visibility of the Company and broaden our access to the large North American capital pool following our acquisition of 70 per cent of the Red Chris mine in Canada, our equity investments in Ecuador and our expanding portfolio of exciting exploration and early stage entry prospects in the Americas,” Biswas said.

According to Biswas, production and growth is expected at Red Chris, with Newcrest planning to introduce a new fleet management system and replace the Cat 793 truck tubs with high performance trays.

Red Chris has produced 12,636 ounces of gold in the September 2020 quarter, with a 2021 financial year guidance of 45-55 thousand ounces.

“We expect production to be higher in the December quarter and the Company is on track to meet its FY21 production guidance,” Biswas said.

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