PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Gold major Newcrest Mining has seen group gold production increase from 396 214 oz in the September quarter, to 436 085 oz in the three months to December.
Copper production also increased from 24 527 t to 26 418 t in the same period, while silver production increased from 174 555 oz to 187 677 oz.
The miner said on Friday that the higher output for the December quarter was driven by higher mill throughput rates at its Cadia, Lihir and Telfer operations. Cadia’s mill capacity increased in the December quarter with the completion of the replacement and upgrade of the semi-autogenous grinding (SAG) mill motor in November, which resulted in higher gold production.
Mill throughput rates at Lihir and Telfer were also higher with a reduction in planned and unplanned shutdown activities, compared with the September quarter.
The Cadia operation delivered 115 362 oz of gold and 18 207 t of copper during the quarter under review, with Lihir contributing 163 937 oz of gold. The Telfer mine contributed 112 726 oz of gold, and 3 536 t of copper, while the Red Chris operation, in Canada, produced 9 527 oz of gold and 4 675 t of copper. Fruta del Norte, in Ecuador, delivered a further 34 533 oz of gold during the quarter under review.
“We maintained a strong operational focus on maintenance and productivity improvements during the quarter. It was a tremendous achievement for our team to safely complete the replacement and upgrade of the SAG mill motor at Cadia, which is now operating at full capacity,” said MD and CEO Sandeep Biswas.
“It was also pleasing to receive approval to increase the permitted processing capacity at Cadia from 32-million tonnes a year to 35-million tonnes a year during the period. Across all our operations, we are well-positioned for a strong second half and remain on track to meet our 2022 guidance.”
For the full year, the miner is expected to deliver between 1.8-million and 2-million ounces of gold, and between 125 000 t and 130 000 t of copper.
Biswas said on Friday that following the progress made in advancing Newcrest’s growth projects at Red Chris, Havieron and Lihir during the quarter, the miner was excited to acquire Pretium Resources in November.
“Brucejack is an asset we have been watching and evaluating for a number of years, and we are delighted that an orebody of its grade, quality and significant potential, will become part of our already exceptional asset portfolio. We expect the acquisition to deliver immediate production, earnings and cash flow growth to Newcrest and our balance sheet will remain strong and well-positioned as we progress our exciting organic growth projects at Cadia, Havieron, Lihir and Red Chris.”
Newcrest Mining has made a $2.8-billion takeover offer for TSX- and NYSE-listed Pretium Resources, which holds the Brucejack mine 140 km from Newcrest’s Red Chris mine, in British Columbia.
Under the terms of the agreement, Pretivm shareholders will have the option to elect to receive C$18.50 per Pretivm share in cash or 0.8084 Newcrest shares per Pretivm share, representing share consideration of C$18.50 based on the Canadian dollar equivalent of the five-day volume weighted average price of Newcrest shares on the ASX ending on November 8, 2021.
Brucejack started commercial production in mid-2017, and is one of the highest grade gold mines in the world. A 2020 technical report estimated gold production of 311 000 oz/y, at an all-in sustaining cost of $743/oz, over a projected mine life of 13 years. In 2021, the mine is anticipated to produce between 325 000 oz and 365 000 oz of gold.