Newcrest gold mine suffers ‘large’ seismic event

Newcrest's Cadia East mine

Newcrest Mining has avoided major mine damage and injury to workers following a seismic event at the Cadia gold operation in New South Wales on Good Friday.

The gold miner reported that a “large seismic event” occurred in the region of the Cadia operation, 25km south of Orange, on Friday at 2:30am, suspending underground mining temporarily.

All Newcrest personnel working in the Cadia East underground mine were moved to refuge chambers or safe areas following the event, and no injuries were recorded. Surface operations at Cadia were not adversely affected and continued uninterrupted.

NSW safety regulators have issued a prohibition notice at the operation, according to Newcrest, halting mining indefinitely.

Newcrest chief executive officer Sandeep Biswas said: “The safety of our people involved in the assessment of damage and remediation activity is paramount, as is the safety of our workforce generally, as we decide when and how mining operations recommence.”

Cadia is not expected to meet its production guidance in the 2017 financial year, Newcrest added, saying it was too early to be definitive about the impact to the company’s overall output.

The seismic event is, however, not anticipated to significantly affect Cadia’s production beyond this financial year, the company said in an ASX announcement.

Newcrest said an assessment of the damage caused by the seismic event was in progress.

“The preliminary assessment is that there has been no major damage to the mine and associated infrastructure in the areas inspected,” the company said.

“The initial assessment of ground support within the Panel Cave (PC) 2 extraction level and crusher chambers is that the level of damage appears to be minimal. Ongoing work is still required to confirm the integrity of the visually-intact ground support.

“PC1 appears to have sustained some damage to the access ways. A cautious approach is being taken to assess any damage to the PC1 extraction level by using a remote-operated camera prior to personnel being permitted into that area.”

This work is expected to occur over the course of the next few days, Newcrest added.

In the 2016 financial year, the Cadia operation produced 668,773 ounces of gold and 64,130 tonnes of copper.