Newcrest Mining's profit US$117 lower due to Cadia outage, lower copper and gold prices

Newcrest Mining rung in US$81 million profit in its half year financial result update, US$117 million lower than the corresponding prior period.

The company says it was adversely impacted primarily by lower realised US dollar gold and copper prices and lower copper sales volumes. There was also an extended production outage at
Cadia following the failure of the main SAG mill motor also adversely impacted production and resulting profitability. However weaker currencies versus the American dollar cushioned the company's financials.

Newcrest said its all-sustaining cost of gold reduced by 5% to US$770 per ounce. Gold production was up six percent to 1.204 million ounces, while copper production slide 23% to 38,918 tonnes.

The company explained commodity moves in a news release:

Gold revenue of USD 1,333 million was 6% lower than the corresponding prior period largely due to a 10% reduction in the average realised gold price (USD 1,113 per ounce in the current period compared to USD 1,238 per ounce).

The gold price impact was partly offset by a 3% increase in gold sales volumes, primarily due to higher ore feed grades and higher milling rates at Lihir and Bonikro, as well as continued ramp up at Cadia East offsetting the impact of declining ore grade at Ridgeway and processing plant issues at Cadia (including the SAG mill outage in the current period).

Production and associated sales volumes in the current period were also adversely impacted by fatality related suspensions at Cadia and Hidden Valley and lower ore volume and feed grades at Telfer in the current period.

Copper revenue of USD 199 million was 41% lower than the corresponding prior period, due to 26% reduction in the average realised copper price (USD 2.29 per pound in the current period compared to USD 3.08 per pound) and a 23% decrease in copper sales volumes to 39,494 tonnes (post capitalisation). Drivers of the lower gold sales volumes at Cadia and Telfer also resulted in the lower copper sales volumes.

Silver revenue of USD 14 million was 33% lower than the corresponding prior period, with 10% lower average realised prices and 24% lower sales volumes.

Operating costs of USD 969 million were USD 141 million or 13% lower than the corresponding prior period. The decrease in operating costs includes a foreign exchange benefit of approximately USD 156 million as a result of the weakening of the Company’s main operating currencies against the US Dollar.

Higher site production costs related to increased mine and processing activity and associated maintenance at Lihir, restructuring costs relating to the transition to contractor mining at the Telfer open pit and higher unit costs of mining the Hiré pits at Bonikro, which were partly offset by lower energy prices and continuing cost reductions from the Edge program in the form of lower input prices and increased efficiencies.