Newcrest Mining shaves US$1 billion off expanding the life of Lihir
Newcrest Mining reduced the cost of extending the life of its Lihir gold mine by over US$1 billion, and moved the project to the feasibility study stage.
In the company's prefeasibility report, the estimated cost of building a seepage barrier was US$1.29 billion. The company went back to the drawing board to examine a lower cost solution and found a way to re-sequence the mining of Lihir, which defers building the barrier. The cost is now US$215 million.
Newcrest explains the changes:
The new operating strategy which commenced implementation at the end of 2014 largely removed sulphur as a processing constraint, which resulted in the Lienetz orebody being more economical and enabled the lateral development of the Lihir mine. This in turn deferred the date a seepage barrier is required, allowing additional time to infill and compact the inner harbour and construct a cut-off wall, rather than the more costly cofferdam option. As part of the Prefeasibility Study the Kapit Flat Stockpile is included in the lateral cutback sequence and will be progressively processed rather than relocated.
Lihir is a an open-pit gold mine in Papua New Guinea.
In the financial year ending 30 June 2015, Lihir produced 688,714 ounces of gold. Since production commenced in 1997, the site has produced more than 9 million ounces of gold.