Newcrest Mining chief executive Sandeep Biswas has observed increasing market interest in the company’s copper assets, saying the base metal is a commodity of the future as much as gold.
Biswas, speaking at the BMO Global Metals and Mining Conference, credited the company’s business resilience to copper.
He said the commodity was key to strengthening the company’s portfolio as the two metals gave a perfect balance to Newcrest as a primary producer of gold.
“I’ve been saying for some time that the right blend for Newcrest is about 70 per cent gold and 30 per cent copper, and I think now people are actually listening and saying, ‘Wow, you have so much copper even with what you’ve produced now, let alone what’s coming down the pipeline,’” Biswas said.
Newcrest’s copper exposure is present across the company’s assets, including at the Cadia mine in New South Wales, the Telfer mine in Western Australia and the Wafi-Golpu project in Papua New Guinea.
The company aims to add a reserve of 15 million ounces of gold equivalent in the next five years.
It also has plans to expand its greenfield discoveries, starting with the Havieron joint venture (JV) project with Greatland Gold in the Paterson Province of Western Australia.
“Havieron’s piqued our interest more in the Paterson Province. That’s a formation no one has come across,” Biswas said.
“It’s like you’re tripping over each other at Paterson at the moment.”
Newcrest’s presence in the Paterson Province is strengthened by its Wilki JV project with Antipa Minerals.
Both JV projects will potentially leverage on Newcrest’s Telfer infrastructure.
“(Both projects are) within trucking distance of Telfer, so we’ll see whether we can uncover another ‘Havieron’ and get that into the Telfer infrastructure. We’ve got 24 million tonnes of capacity at Telfer,” Biswas said.
Newcrest is also building its greenfields portfolio through exploration activity across Ecuador, Chile, Canada and the United States.