Newcrest beats copper forecast
Newcrest beats copper forecast

UPDATE 2.45pm: Shares in Newcrest Mining were higher after the company reported it had exceeded its full-year copper production targets, while gold production was in line with forecasts.

Australia's biggest gold miner said it produced 76,015 tonnes of copper for the year to the end of June, slightly exceeding its April forecast.

The miner also produced 2.3 million ounces of gold in the year, in line with its forecast.

For the final quarter of 2012, Newcrest produced 20,544 tonnes of copper and 587,310 ounces of gold.

Cash costs were $604 per ounce and cash margins remained strong at $970 per ounce, Newcrest said in a statement.

Newcrest said gold production increased by 36 per cent in the June 2012 quarter at its Cadia mine in NSW but was lower at its Telfer mine in WA due to reduced recovery and lower tonnes milled.

Gold production at Lihir, in PNG, rose nine per cent on the previous quarter but was lower at Bonikro, in Ivory Coast, because of an early start to the wet season.

The gold miner said its cash costs of $2,031 million for the full financial year 2012 were slightly below the updated guidance range, while full year unit cash costs of $603 an ounce were within guidance range.

Newcrest said major project expansions at Cadia Valley and Lihir remained on schedule and the Lihir MOPU project was on budget and on schedule for completion in the December 2012 quarter.

"Cadia East is on schedule to achieve first commercial production in the December 2012 quarter and is within 10 per cent above the original estimated capital cost of $1.9 billion," the company said.

Exploration was continuing with 46 rigs in operation across its portfolio in Australia, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and Ivory Coast, it added.

"Excellent results were achieved at Wafi Golpu, Lihir and Bonikro in the June 2012 quarter," it said.

Newcrest also confirmed the presence of a new gold zone west of Golpu, while the upper zone of Golpu looked "more promising".

It also said drilling at Bonikro had indicated strong potential for a pit expansion.

Newcrest operates mines in four countries: Australia, PNG, Indonesia and Ivory Coast.

It focuses on two major growth projects, the Cadia East underground mine in central western NSW - which will be Australia's largest underground miner - and Lihir Million Ounce Plant Upgrade project in Papua New Guinea (PNG).

It also aims to have the Wafi-Golpu gold/copper project in PNG in production by the end of the decade.

Newcrest shares closed up 22 cents at $22.37.

The West Australian

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