Newmont has reported a more than ninefold rise in earnings in the first quarter of this year, a period that included a number of activities that impacted its Australian operations.
Net income rose to $US822 million ($1.27 billion) in the three months ending March 31, up from $87 million ($135 million) in the same period last year.
Gold prices have been on a growing streak since the start of the year amid uncertainties surrounding other markets amid the COVID-19 crisis.
Newmont reached a higher average realised price for its gold, which was up $US291 ($452) an ounce from a year earlier to $US1,591 ($2472) an ounce.
But Newmont’s increased earnings also reflect a rise in output from acquiring Goldcorp’s assets last year, boosting the company’s production in the quarter by 20 per cent to 1.5 million ounces.
The increased production was partially offset by the sale of its 50 per cent interest in Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines (KCGM) in Western Australia.
Though Newmont withdrew its full-year 2020 guidance in anticipation that some production could be deferred into 2021, the company stated it was resuming output at three of its sites.
“Despite the disruption from COVID-19 we are well positioned to withstand this pandemic,” Newmont chief executive Tom Palmer said.
“Our robust balance sheet provides us with significant financial flexibility to continue allocating capital where it is needed most during this time of uncertainty, while maintaining our industry-leading returns to shareholders.”
The company stated that while there had been no confirmed cases of coronavirus among its employees, it had significantly reduced the number of workers at its mines.
Newmont also reduced production at some operations “to reduce the risk of transmission to nearby communities with limited healthcare capacity.”
The mining company also approved autonomous haulage at the Boddington mine in in Western Australia and secured a second stage expansion at the Tanami operation in the Northern Territory.
This is set to extend mine life to 2040 and increase average yearly gold production by around 150,000–200,000 ounces a year for the first five years beginning 2023.