Newcrest Mining has cut its full year gold output forecast, mainly on the back of a dam collapse which halted operations at its biggest and lowest-cost mine.
The miner produced 575,791 ounces of gold in the three months to March 31, down six per cent from the previous quarter, mostly due to reduced production at its Cadia mine in NSW after a breach at the tailings dam temporarily suspended all mining and processing activities.
Newcrest now expects full year gold output to be between 2.25 and 2.35 million ounces, down from its previous estimate of between 2.4 and 2.7 million ounces.
The Cadia mine produced 142,970 ounces of gold in the March quarter, a decline on 180,223 ounces recorded in the prior quarter.
The company previously warned it will take a financial hit from the dam wall breach and on Thursday revised its Cadia guidance to 550 – 600 thousand ounces, from 680 – 780 thousands ounces.
Newcrest previously said it will use its Cadia Hill open pit as a tailings storage dam, sacrificing remaining gold and copper reserves, to help it return to full production.
Chief executive Sandeep Biswas said he was impressed by the efforts of the people at Cadia who are striving to safely restore the operation to normal production.
A softer quarter from the Telfer mine also dragged on overall production, while the Lihir and Gosowong mines both increased production on the December quarter.
Gold production at Telfer in the March quarter was 27 per cent lower than the prior quarter on the back of lower mill feed grade, lower ore tonnes mines and reduced processing plant availability.
The Lihir mine in Papau New Guinea produced 235,626 ounces of gold in the March quarter, up on 209,888 in the December quarter, while the Gosowong mine in Indonesia produced 71,410 ounces in the three months, up from 59,338 ounces.