PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Gold major Newcrest Mining has reported a slight decline in both gold and copper production for the three months to September, compared with the previous quarter, on the back of planned shutdown events at the Cadia, Lihir and Telfer operations.
Newcrest produced 503 089 oz of gold during the September quarter, down from the 573 175 oz produced in the June quarter, with copper production in the same period declining from 40 196 t to 34 763 t.
Silver production for the three months to September was also down from 252 205 oz to 214 412 oz.
“Consistent with prior years we executed a number of planned shutdown events across our operations in the September quarter, which is reflected in our production and all-in sustaining cost (AISC) per ounce,” said CEO and MD Sandeep Biswas, pointing to an AISC of $1 275/oz, up from $1 108/oz in the June quarter.
“We expect production to be higher in the December quarter and the company is on track to meet its 2021 financial year production guidance. Our world-class Cadia asset continues to impress, reporting its lowest ever quarterly AISC of $113/oz, equating to an AISC margin of $1 724/oz for the quarter.
“This showcases the strength of Newcrest’s unique technical capability as one of the few mining companies globally able to do block cave mining, which underpins Cadia’s performance.”
Biswas said that in line with the company’s strategy of pursuing growth in the Americas, Newcrest listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange in October.
“We believe that this secondary listing will improve the global visibility of the company and broaden our access to the large North American capital pool following our acquisition of 70% of the Red Chris mine in Canada, our equity investments in Ecuador and our expanding portfolio of exciting exploration and early stage entry prospects in the Americas.”
During October, the Newcrest board also approved Stage 2 of the Cadia expansion project and the Lihir front end recovery project to the execution phase.
The Cadia expansion is expected to increase plant capacity to 35-million tonnes a year, enabling an increase in gold and copper recoveries, an increase in production and a reduction in unit costs, while the Lihir front end recovery project is expected to deliver additional production through an improvement in life-of-mine gold recoveries.
“It’s evident that the difficult near-term operating conditions we highlighted at Lihir earlier this year adversely impacted our recent share price performance, so I’m pleased to report that the ongoing Lihir studies have improved our confidence in production plan deliverability and our first-quarter performance across the group is in line with expectations. Lihir is a uniquely large, long-life asset and I remain confident we are on track to realise its full potential,” Biswas said.
“As we continue to deliver against the strongly value-accretive opportunities across our portfolio, including production growth to come from Havieron and Red Chris, I believe the considerable upside we see will be more broadly recognised.”