Lihir to shed 10% of expat workforce: report

NEWCREST Mining will reportedly cut around 150 jobs at its world-class Lihir gold mine in Papua New Guinea as part of a shift towards producing low-cost ounces.
Lihir to shed 10% of expat workforce: report Lihir to shed 10% of expat workforce: report Lihir to shed 10% of expat workforce: report Lihir to shed 10% of expat workforce: report Lihir to shed 10% of expat workforce: report

As part of its share-crunching announcement earlier this month on holding $A5-6 billion of asset impairments since the gold price plunge, Newcrest flagged using the big stockpile at its Lihir mine to avoid all high-cost ounces.

This stockpile has respectable 2.3 grams per tonne gold grade and Newcrest has previously said treating this ore at Lihir costs about $2 a tonne, compared to $12-14/t for freshly mined ore.

On the consequential cut to production, Macquarie Private Wealth has forecast that Lihir's output could fall 23% to 697,000 in the 2014 financial year.

Bloomberg has since reported that Newcrest will cut its Lihir workforce by 5-7%, or about 150 jobs.

While talks between Newcrest and PNG Prime Minister Peter O'Neill over possible government assistance were expected last week, a Newcrest spokeswoman reportedly said they had not occurred but the miner was prepared to hold a meeting to discuss its plans.

The National has reported Newcrest country manager Peter Aitsi as saying that 10% of Lihir's expat workforce and 8% of its PNG national workers would lose their jobs.

The big open cut mine previously employed about 3000 directly and 2000 contractors.

The job and production cuts make the mine's long-running million ounce per annum project, started by previous operator Lihir Gold, further off the cards.

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