Newcrest Mining is focussed on achieving a goal of having five Tier 1 orebodies in its gold portfolio by the end of 2020.
Managing director Sandeep Biswas said the company was close to reaching the target, with Cadia (New South Wales), Lihir (Papua New Guinea), Wafi-Golpu (PNG) and Fruta del Norte (Ecuador) giving it four such assets.
The Red Chris project in Canada, a site Newcrest bought a majority stake in for $US806.5 million ($1.18 billion) during the 2019 financial year, is potentially the fifth.
Newcrest, at its annual general meeting today, recognised the 2019 financial year as the sixth consecutive year that the company had been free cash flow positive.
The company’s financial position helped it acquire a 70 per cent interest in Red Chris and form a joint venture (JV) with Canada’s Imperial Metals.
Newcrest also had an “outstanding year” at the Cadia mine with operational records, while exceeding its production guidance.
The company produced 913,000 ounces of gold and 91,000 tonnes of copper at Cadia during the 2019 financial year thanks to record tonnes mined and milled.
“Our plans to expand operations were progressed during the year, with stage one of the Cadia expansion project approved to proceed in October 2019,” Biswas said.
“Cadia is one of the world’s premier gold assets, and it has the potential to be delivering gold and copper at a low cost for decades to come.”
In contrast to the progress at Cadia, Newcrest continued to face delays in securing permits at the Wafi-Golpu project.
Biswas attributed the delays to the unresolved legal proceedings between the National and Morobe Provincial Government regarding the internal distribution of PNG’s economic interests in the project.
“The $US2.8 billion investment into the Wafi-Golpu project is expected to bring significant benefits to all stakeholders, including local communities,” Biswas said.
“The PNG Government continues to signal its support for the project, and we look forward to progressing the permitting decisions.”
Apart from Newcrest’s ambitions to own five Tier 1 orebodies, the company is working towards having zero fatalities by the end of 2020 to continue a four-year streak in this regard.