Gold production up 17% at Lihir

Business, Normal

The National, Thursday 25th April 2013

 GOLD production on Newcrest’s Lihir operations for the March 2013 quarter is 17% higher than results achieved in the December 2012 quarter. 

Lihir’s performance during the quarter was 171,690 ounces of gold at a cash cost of A$676 per ounce.

And the December 2012 quarter performance was 147,126 ounces of gold at a cash cost of A$649 per ounce.

This was driven by higher plant throughput as the recently completed plant expansion ramps up, Newcrest said in a statement.

Recovery rates for the March 2013 quarter were consistent with the December 2012 quarter with a throughput increase of 25% more than offsetting a 6% reduction in mill feed grade.

“Lower feed grade in March resulted from a planned transition to a new ore in Phase 9 of the Minifie pit,” the statement said.

Ramp up of the new plant progressed as expected with the new autoclave operating above its design capacity of 450 tonnes per hour for the month of March.

The old plant operated at reduced capacity due to an issue in one of the autoclaves (autoclave 1).

Higher site costs were driven by increased plant throughput as the expanded plant began its ramp-up and higher material movement in the mine.

Newcrest said that refurbishment projects in the older sections of the Lihir plant and the flotation expansion project are progressing to plan.

Refurbishment projects include the upgrading of electrical and control systems, tank replacement works in the neutralisation cyanide adsorption circuit. The flotation expansion project is on schedule for completion in the first quarter of the 2014.