Lihir, Hidden Valley prepare to ramp up

SETBACKS at Newcrest Mining’s Lihir operation cut its gold production by 21% in the September quarter, while the Hidden Valley mine in PNG is closer to meeting its potential.
Lihir, Hidden Valley prepare to ramp up Lihir, Hidden Valley prepare to ramp up Lihir, Hidden Valley prepare to ramp up Lihir, Hidden Valley prepare to ramp up Lihir, Hidden Valley prepare to ramp up

As previously reported, an electrical fault at the main oxygen plant along with a brief landowner dispute dented production rates at Lihir.

The open cut mine produced 129,311 ounces for the September quarter at cash costs of $A632/oz, compared with 163,059oz gold and $571/oz cash costs for the June quarter.

But there was some good news, with construction for the long-heralded Million Ounce Plant Upgrade expansion about 97% complete.

Commissioning of the new oxygen plant and autoclave is planned for this quarter, as is completion of the conveying and grinding circuit.

At the Hidden Valley gold and silver mine that Newcrest half owns with Harmony Gold in PNG's Morobe province, production hit 22,137 gold oz for the September quarter at cash cost of $1355/oz.

Output was 4% higher, while cash costs were 13% lower than the previous quarter.

This new mine is yet to hit its intended capacity due to some teething issues last year. But next year could be a different story once a crusher upgrade is completed in the March quarter.

Newcrest said it is expected to enable the overland conveyor to operate at "capacity thereafter".

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