Newcrest Mining gold output falls, but copper rises

Lihir mine, in Papua New Guinea, reached its target of an annualized mill throughput rate of 13.0mt, a record for the site. (Image courtesy of Newcrest Mining)

Australia’s biggest gold producer, Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM) revealed Monday that gold production dropped in the last three months of 2016 as the company lowered production at one of its largest operations and sold a mine in Papua New Guinea.

The company said gold production dropped to 614,715 ounces in the quarter ended in December, from 615,498 ounces in the three months immediately prior and 620,691 ounces a year ago.

Newcrest attributed the decline in gold output partly to planned production cuts at Cadia, in eastern Australia.

Newcrest attributed the decline partly to planned output cuts at Cadia, in eastern Australia, in order to manage volumes from an underground cave to improve its shape. It also said the sale of its 50% stake in the Hidden Valley mine in Papua New Guinea to Harmony Gold  (NYSE:HMY)(JSE:HAR), weighed on the figures.

The company also noted that its Telfer mine in northern Western Australia had flooding in recent weeks due to heavy rains, although it said it still expected the mine to meet its production targets for the year.

On the bright side, Newcrest said it managed to bring down gold production costs by 4.9% peer ounce over the period.

It also had good news when it came to copper, as output of the red metal increased by 6.1% in the quarter to 25,176 tonnes, from 23,723 tonnes in the September quarter and 17,581 tonnes a year earlier.

Newcrest also said that its gold production losses were offset by an increase in output at Gosowong, in Indonesia, and Lihir, in Papua New Guinea, which reached its target of an annualized mill throughput rate of 13.0mt, a record for the site.

The miner also maintained its guidance for its 2017 financial year. It expects to deliver between 2.35-2.6 million ounces of gold and 80,000-90,000 tonnes of copper.

Shares in the company closed Monday 1.27% higher to A$21.45 in Sydney.

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