Newcrest, have reported an increase in production in the final quarter of 2017.
- Gold production of 613koz for the quarter, up 17.2% from the prior quarter
- Copper production of 22kt for the quarter, up 33.8% from the prior quarter
- Group AISC per ounce reduced by $69/oz to $829/oz compared to the prior quarter
- Group AISC per ounce margin increased 13.1% to $459/oz for the quarter
- Cadia achieved a record low AISC of $129 per ounce for the quarter
- Newcrest agreed to divest Bonikro for $81m during the quarter
- New sustainable mill throughput target for Lihir of 15mpta by end June 2019
According to Newcrest Managing Director & CEO, Sandeep Biswas, Lihir continued to perform positively, realizing a 3% increase in Gold production during this period – with a total of over 209,000 ounces of gold produced.
He says this performance was due to a number of factors, including higher proportion of ex-pit ore feed being processed, and higher recoveries being achieved in the process plant.
In addition, Mill throughput was 9% lower quarter-on-quarter due to unplanned maintenance impacting the mills, including a SAG mill motor failure. Recoveries increased as a greater proportion of material was processed through the autoclaves rather than the flotation circuit. Further recovery improvements were achieved through the commissioning of the Float Tails Leach Stage 2 project and a second carbon regeneration kiln mid-way through the quarter, with the latter reducing losses in the Neutralisation and Carbon Adsorption circuit.
The Wafi-Golpu Joint Venture parties continued to progress activity in line with the forward work plan previously communicated, including engagement with the PNG Government on the application for a Special Mining Lease (SML) for the Wafi-Golpu project.
The current study work is focused on assessing internally-generated power options, developing deep sea tailings placement options to compare with terrestrial tailings storage options, and reassessing block cave levels and increased mining rates due to increased knowledge obtained from further drilling undertaken during the year.
The Joint Venture parties are targeting a complete update of the Feasibility Study by the end of the March 2018 quarter. The focus of this work is to further optimise the business case and confirm any amendments necessary to the supporting documents for the SML application.
Timing of first production is dependent on the updated study outcomes and the granting of an SML and other necessary approvals.