The National – Monday, February 14, 2011
PERTH: Australia’s biggest gold miner, Newcrest Mining Ltd, has more than doubled its first half net profit due to record gold production and higher commodity prices.
Newcrest’s net profit for the six months to Dec 31 was A$437.8 million, up 148.5% from A$176.2 million for the first half of 2009.
Included in Newcrest’s net profit figure was A$134.7 million attributable to assets acquired through the Lihir takeover, the Lihir mine in Papua New Guinea, Bonikro in Cote d’Ivoire and Mt Rawdon in Queensland.
Underlying profit increased 96.25 to A$523.1 million, with the formerly Lihir-held assets contributing $139 million.
Sales revenue rose 65.6% to A$1.966 billion, from A$1.187 billion previously.
Newcrest said gold sales increased 58% and the realised gold price was 16% higher.
The Lihir assets contributed 75% of the additional gold sales, the miner said, while a 19% increase in the realised copper price was partly offset by lower copper sales.
Gold production hit a record high at 1.397 million ounces (moz), up 70%, with 1.222moz attributable to Newcrest’s half year results.
“The difference represents production at assets acquired from LGL (Lihir) for the two months prior to the effective date of the merger,” Newcrest said.
In addition to the inclusion of gold production from the formerly Lihir-held mines, increased gold output was achieved at Cadia Valley in NSW, Gosowong in Indonesia and Hidden Valley in PNG.
However, copper production was down from 45,148 tonnes in first half of 2009 to 35,406 tonnes due to lower production at Cadia Valley, which was hit by heavy rain and flooding late last year.
The miner reaffirmed its full year gold production of guidance between 2.85moz and 2.95moz.
Newcrest declared an interim unfranked dividend of A$0.10 per share, compared with A$0.05 a year earlier and below UBS’ estimate of US$0.12 per share.– AAP