Newcrest Mining managing director Sandeep Biswas has revealed that the company intends to expand its asset holding by adding more Tier 1 and Tier 2 orebodies to its gold portfolio.
Speaking during Newcrest’s half year results earnings conference call, Biswas said the company would engage in more greenfield discoveries and early-stage entry in partnerships, while remaining focussed on value.
This follows Newcrest’s achievement of having five Tier 1 orebodies in 2020 as targeted, including the Cadia gold operation in New South Wales, Telfer gold mine in Western Australia and Lihir project in Papua New Guinea.
“Innovation. Has been a big driver of value at Newcrest, and we’ve had some pretty impressive wins in the last few years,” Biswas said.
“But over the next five years, another big driver of value will be reserve growth, both in relation to our existing mines and the new discoveries.
“We’ve got a unique opportunity to continue to apply our technical knowhow and the ethos of breakthrough thinking to maximise the amount of reserves we can economically extract from these ore bodies through efficiencies, data science, digital and automation, mining techniques and processing and innovations.”
Biswas believes there is more value the company can get out of its Cadia and Lihir gold operations.
With the Cadia molybdenum plant targeted to hit commercial production in the September quarter, Newcrest expects to add around $50 per ounce benefit to Cadia’s “already low” all-in sustaining cost per ounce.
“Cadia expansion project has (proceeded) very well and we’ve started the box cutter Havieron in record time,” Biswas added. “You’ve got to remember that we only bought into the project 18 months ago.”
At the Lihir gold operation, Newcrest developed a mine design that’s capable of adding 1.4 million ounces of gold to the mill between the 2022 and 2034 fiscal years.
Biswas noted that at a milling rate of around 15 million tonnes a year, the company could produce more gold ounces per tonne of feed than previously.
“We have a clearer path to unlock significant value from Lihir, which I’m very excited about and we’re advancing all our growth options,” Biswas said.
“Importantly, this is not about getting to the stretch limits of milling and autoclave capacity. It’s up to about the mine to give us a better ore feed and better grades, and then running the plant at the rate that we know we can achieve.”
Newcrest aspires to develop Lihir into a one million ounce producer for 10-12 years from 2022.