Newcrest’s gold output drops quarter-on-quarter

Gold miner Newcrest Mining has recorded back-to-back quarters of declining gold and copper production.

Quarterly gold production for September fell 9 per cent below the June quarter’s results to 586,573 ounces, while copper dropped 14 per cent to 19,632 tonnes for the same period.

But comparing year-on-year, Newcrest actually boosted gold production by 27 per cent and lifted copper outputs by 6 per cent.

The miner reported an all-in sustain cost of $AU1,093 per ounce, a slight drop below the 2013 financial year average.

Newcrest’s Cadia Valley operation boosted mine production by 18 per cent at its Cadia East Panel Cave 1 which when combined with Ridgeway production lifted gold output by 10 per cent.

“Gold production increased 10 per cent over the previous quarter (June 2013) reflecting higher feed grades from Ridgeway and the increasing level of production from Cadia East displacing stockpile material as mill feed,” Newcrest said.

The miner announced on Thursday that the ramp-up of its Cadia East Panel Cave 2 progressed to plan during the quarter.

Gold outputs at Newcrest’s Telfer operation dropped by almost a quarter compared to the three months to June, coming in at 123,691 ounces.

Newcrest explained the drop was due to a “significant reduction in the average gold feed grade”, and lower mill throughput.

A disruption to the company’s underground hoisting system resulted in lower gold feed grades and throughputs as ore was sourced from Telfer’s open pit stockpiles.

“The underground operation returned to planned production levels late in the quarter following the repair of the hoisting system,” Newcrest said.

“A progressive reduction in open pit mining activity is planned for the remainder of the financial year.”

Newcrest is maintaining its production guidance of between 2million and 2.3million ounces of gold and between 75,000 and 85,000 tonnes of copper for the full year.

Earlier this month Newcrest appointed a new chairman and a new CEO, as Greg Robinson steps down.

The news came after the embattled miner recorded its first annual loss in 11 years as well as the biggest annual loss in its history, after an $AU6.23 billion write-down.

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