The miner confirmed a net profit of $US53.8 million for the year, up from the 2005 result of $9.8 million, with the result fuelled by a record annual output of 651,000oz. Some 226,000 of those ounces came in the final quarter of the year.
Looking ahead, Lihir says it aims to produce 800,000-830,000oz this year at a cash cost of around $250 per ounce, in contrast to the $297/oz price averaged in 2006.
Much of the cost saving will be generated by the addition of further geothermal power capacity.
Lihir said its existing geothermal power station saved the company some $25 million in power costs for the year, and the addition of an extra geothermal power station will take the power savings to around $40 million.
In other expansion news, Lihir is looking to add an additional larger autoclave to the project’s existing plant that would take annual gold output beyond 1 million ounces.
Commenting on his company’s takeover tilt for Ballarat Goldfields, Lihir managing director Arthur Hood said the completion of deal would add “an important new dimension to our growth profile”.
“Assuming no significant decline in global gold prices this year, I look forward to reporting a solid improvement in operating cashflows and after-tax profit for 2007,” Hood said.
Shares in Lihir closed at $3.26 yesterday, down 3%, but were up 6% to $3.47 in earlyt afternoon trade today.