Newcrest production spikes as Cadia drives costs down

Cadia East

Newcrest Mining has increased gold output at all but one of its operations in fourth quarter 2017, putting the company on target to hit its production guidance for the 2018 financial year.

The largest Australian-based gold miner delivered higher production against the previous quarter at the Cadia (New South Wales), Lihir (Papua New Guinea), Bonkiro (Côte d’Ivoire) and Telfer (Western Australia) mines, with only the Gosowong (Indonesia) operation registering a fall in output.

Newcrest’s gold production for the December quarter reached 612,695 ounces (oz), a 17.2 per cent improvement on the 522,917oz recorded in the September quarter. It also produced 22,321 tonnes of copper, a 33.8 per cent rise.

The company’s gold production would have been even higher if it wasn’t for a motor failure in a SAG mill at the Lihir mine. This incident impacted the mine’s ability to meet a sustainable 14Mt/y throughout target by the end of December.

At Cadia, which was impacted by a seismic event last April, Newcrest continued to increase output as planned, with recoveries improving to 81 per cent. Cadia delivered 180,223oz in the December quarter, up from 120,514oz in the previous three months.

The miner’s all-in sustaining costs (AISC) for the December quarter were $829/oz, $69/oz lower than the previous quarter, which was primarily due to higher output at Cadia.

Newcrest managing director Sandeep Biswas was particularly pleased with the strong quarter-on-quarter production increase and record low AISC at Cadia.

“Newcrest has delivered a significantly improved quarter with all but one of our operations producing more ounces than the previous quarter,” Biswas said.

“Lihir experienced some production disruptions in the quarter that moderated its rate of improvement, though it still managed an increase in quarterly production.”

Newcrest’s production guidance for the 2018 financial year is between 2.4–2.7Moz of gold and 80,000–90,000t of copper. The company produced 1.136Moz of gold and 39,002t of copper in the first six months of the fiscal year.

“Newcrest remains on track for production from continuing operations to be stronger in the second half of financial year 18,” Biswas added.