Newcrest gold output falls 13% on fatalities, mechanical flops

Newcrest gold output falls 13% on fatalities, mechanical flops

An employee at the Hidden Valley operation in Papua New Guinea mine was killed on July 18, prompting a 33-days closure of the operation. (Image courtesy of Newcrest Mining)

Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM), Australia’s largest gold producer, closed over 5% down in Sydney Tuesday as the company revealed that temporary shutdowns at two of its mines due to two workplace fatalities and mechanical failures caused it to miss estimated quarterly output targets.

The results for the quarter ended in September show Newcrest produced 583,745 ounces of gold in the three months to September, down 13% from the previous quarter.

Newcrest, which expects to mine between 2.4 million and 2.6 million ounces of gold in the 2016 financial year, will need to improve the figures posted Tuesday if it is to achieve that target.

A mine technician was fatally injured last month at the Ridgeway mine at the producer’s Cadia Valley operations in Australia. In a separate incident, an employee at the Hidden Valley operation in Papua New Guinea mine was killed on July 18.

Managing director Sandeep Biswas said operations had been suspended for 11 days at Cadia in central NSW and for 33 days at the PNG operation following fatalities. The Melbourne-based company has begun a detailed safety review, “with a particular focus on high risk tasks,” Biswas noted in the statement.

Despite the output drop, the gold miner said its full-year production guidance remained unchanged, as lower levels of maintenance at its Lihir mine in the current quarter will lift output, the company said.

Shares in Newcrest dropped 75 cents, or 5.05%, closing at A$14.11.

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