Australia’s Newcrest Mining said on Wednesday gold production fell 2.8% in the second quarter from the first, missing analyst expectations, after operations were suspended at its Brucejack operations in Canada following a fatality.
In late October, the gold miner confirmed the death of a worker at its Brucejack mine. The resulting three week operational suspension during a safety review led to a 38% drop in production on the quarter before to 52,000 ounces.
Australia’s largest gold miner also said drought conditions due to the La Niña weather pattern kept limiting water supply to the Lihir mine in Papua New Guinea, hurting gold production for the second straight quarter. Unplanned downtime at the plant also hit output.
“We remain confident in delivering a stronger operating performance through the second half of FY23,” Interim Chief Executive Officer, Sherry Duhe said.
Duhe, formerly Newcrest’s chief financial officer, stepped in after Sandeep Biswas announced his retirement in late December.
Newcrest maintained full-year guidance of 2.1-2.4 million ounces, with healthy gold and copper pricing, favourable exchange rates and production growth expected to drive a better performance in the second half of the financial year.
The miner produced 512,130 ounces (oz) of the precious metal in the three months to Dec. 31, compared with 527,115 oz in the September quarter, coming in well below Citi estimate of 552,700 oz.
Al-in sustaining costs fell 1% for the quarter to $1,082/oz as production costs eased at the Cadia mine in New South Wales
Gold miners had a volatile 2022, as bullion prices were swayed by a global rise in interest rates, and fears of an impending recession. Spot gold rose nearly 10% in the December quarter.
The company’s quarterly copper output rose to 34,564 tonnes from 32,459 tonnes in September quarter. Shares eased 0.4% to A$23.30.
(By Navya Mittal and Echha Jain; Editing by Maju Samuel and David Gregorio)