Mining and Heavy Industries

Newcrest cuts down debt, boosts gold output

Copper has slumped in price.

ASX-listed copper/gold miner Newcrest has announced a 27% reduction to its net debt during the 2015/16 financial year.

Newcrest managing director and chief executive officer Sandeep Biswas said the $800 million drop in net debt, to just $2.1 billion, was evidence of the company’s focus to generate cash.

“We have delivered a solid performance considering the challenges we have experienced at some sites,” Biswas said.

Newcrest delivered a 0.8% increase in gold production in 2015/16 to 2.4 million ounces.

But that was despite gold production being lower in the June quarter, principally due to the extended suspension of production at Newcrest’s Gosowong operation in Indonesia.

Gosowong was temporarily shut down after a miner was trapped for eight days, when a bore hole intersected with the tunnel he was working in.

Lower grades of ore at Newcrest’s Cadia operation also impacted the lower result in the June quarter.

This, and the Gosowong outage, were partially offset by a strong result at the miner’s Lihir operation in Papua New Guinea, which reported record quarterly gold production, of 246,000 ounces.

“The ramp up of Cadia East progressed and the mine substantially replaced the ore volumes previously sourced from the Ridgeway mine [in New South Wales] that is now on care and maintenance,” Newcrest outlined.

Biswas reflected: “We look forward to safely building upon this performance with the continued ramp up of Cadia East and our ongoing operational improvements at Lihir.”

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