Newcrest maintains production guidance amid virus challenges

The Telfer mine in the East Pilbara region of Western Australia. Image: Newcrest Mining

Newcrest Mining has maintained its guidance for the 2020 financial year despite limitations on workforce movement interstate and internationally.

The gold miner has suspended all interstate fly in, fly out (FIFO) for the Telfer and Havieron projects in Western Australia.

It has also altered rosters to minimise travel and interaction between work groups, aimed at minimising the chance of transmitting coronavirus.

This followed the suspension of drive in, drive out (DIDO) activities and face-to-face engagement with the local communities.

At the Cadia operation in New South Wales, Newcrest stated that the transportation of concentrate from Blayney to Port Kembla remained open.

Newcrest also relies largely on a residential workforce or resources from within the state.

The company was also able to attract key personnel to the Lihir mine in Papua New Guinea before international and domestic flights were suspended.

Newcrest aims to continue operations and planned maintenance cycles at Lihir for the near to medium term.

“At this point in time, the ports remain open to allow the receipt of key supplies and doré continues to be able to be transported to the Perth Mint,” according to Newcrest.

The mining operations of Red Chris in Canada are also exempt from coronavirus-related restrictions.

Newcrest has altered its Red Chris employee roster to provide for longer on and off-site periods, decreasing the amount of travel required and providing First Nation employees with increased time to self-isolate before returning to their local communities.

“At this point in time, Newcrest has no confirmed cases of COVID-19 (coronavirus) at any of its operations or projects, with all mines continuing to operate and there being no change to the company’s guidance for the 2020 financial year,” Newcrest stated.

“The limitations on the movement of people interstate and internationally is being managed effectively at this point in time.”

Newcrest, however, flagged that its 20,000-ounces attributable production from the Fruta del Norte mine in Ecuador was at risk given the operation suspension.

The company noted its 2020 financial year guidance was subject to market and operating conditions amid the coronavirus crisis.

Newcrest also established a $20 million community support fund to provide financial support to its host communities as they faced challenges associated with the pandemic.

Company managing director Sandeep Biswas said the fund would initially focus on increasing the availability of medical care and equipment to cope with the pandemic.

“(It will also assist) in the provision of other essential goods and services, in the communities that host Newcrest’s operations worldwide,” he said.

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