PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Gold major Newcrest Mining on Thursday lowered its 2012/13 production forecast by some 10%, on the back of restricted production capacity at its Lihir operations and poor ground conditions at the Gosowong mine.
Production for the full year was now expected to be between 2-million and 2.15-million ounces, with yearly copper production remaining at between 75 000 t and 85 000 t.
Newcrest told shareholders that while the production ramp-up at its Cadia East and Lihir million-ounce plant upgrade had progressed in line with expectations, the Lihir operations were running at a reduced production capacity after a routine thermal scanning programme detected a hot spot in autoclave 1.
Following an inspection, it was confirmed that the internal brickwork of the autoclave 1 had been damaged.
The gold miner took the decision to undertake a complete and permanent repair to ensure a long-term solution to this issue, which meant that repair work could take between five and seven weeks to complete.
The three other autoclaves, as well as the rest of the Lihir processing plant, continued to operate to capacity.
Meanwhile, Newcrest noted that the company continued to face difficult ground conditions at the Gosowong operation, as it went in search of high-grade ore in the Kencana mine.
While the ground conditions have continued to be difficult and access to the high-grade face position has been below expectations, the company said on Thursday that it was now mining from high-grade face positions.
The Gosowong operation was expected to deliver between 300 000 oz and 325 000 oz during the full year, while Lihir would deliver between 620 000 oz and 680 000 oz of gold.