Newcrest remains on target despite decline in output

Newcrest Mining has reported a slight drop in gold production during the December quarter after selling a mine and lowering output at one of its key operations.

The Australian-based gold miner produced 614,715 ounces of gold in the three months, down from the 615,498 ounces recorded in the September quarter.

Newcrest attributed the decline to reduced production at the Cadia operations in New South Wales, due to its plan to manage volumes from an underground cave. It also sold its 50 per cent share in the Hidden Valley operation in Papua New Guinea to South Africa’s Harmony Gold Mining.

Despite the overall decrease reported by the company, its output was two per cent higher at continuing operations, with the Lihir and Gosowong mines both lifting production.

The Lihir mine was a standout performer during the quarter, according to Newcrest chief executive Sandeep Biswas.

“Newcrest achieved a significant milestone during the December quarter with Lihir reaching its target of an annualised mill throughput rate of 13.0 million tonnes – a record for the site,” he said.

“Cadia also continued to increase mill throughput, processing ore at an annualised rate of 26.4mt, a six per cent increase on the prior quarter and above the nameplate capacity of the plant.

“These achievements and efforts by all our operations contributed to a five per cent decrease in Newcrest’s all-in sustaining cost per ounce and an increase in production from our continuing operations.”

Newcrest also produced 25,176 tonnes of copper during the December quarter, a six per cent increase from the 23,723 tonnes reported in the previous period.

The company has maintained its guidance for 2017 financial year, with it expecting to deliver between 2.35-2.6 million ounces of gold and 80,000-90,000 tonnes of copper.