Newcrest says its too early to update its guidance for the year to June for production of gold and copper even though it says it resumed mining at its troubled Cadia mine in central western NSW.
The update will be a reduction in the estimated production of gold and copper for the year to June 30 that has already been impacted by the partial closure of the Cadia mine in the first half of the financial year (in the six months to December 31).
The gold and copper miner has previously confirmed it will miss its full-year production guidance and said it will be unable to satisfy contracts for copper concentrate product because of the Cadia mine closure (and has declared force majeure on copper contract supplies from the mine).
The Cadia mine is Newcrest’s major gold and copper producing mine.
Newcrest will resume mining a fortnight after a partial tailings dam collapse halted operations a fortnight ago. One, maybe two small ground quakes are believed to have played a part in the collapse, even thought they occurred a day or two before the collapse.
Newcrest was forced to stop production at its biggest and lowest-cost mine after a breach in the northern tailings dam on March 9 resulted in material flowing into the adjacent southern tailings dam.
The miner said it will restart mining on Tuesday but processing remains in a halt, with the company still considering recovery options such as diverting tailings into the old Cadia Hill open pit mine, which is no longer operational.
"Pursuant to a predefined test and response program, mining will initially be from Panel Cave 1 and then progressively recommence from Panel Cave 2. Mined ore will be stockpiled at surface until processing recommences,” the company said yesterday.
"Newcrest continues to work with the NSW regulators on permitting the Cadia Hill open pit tailings option and has commenced procurement of some of the necessary equipment to allow this possibility to be utilised if approved," the company said in a statement.
The Cadia mine was closed for three months last year because of earthquake damage suffered in a small earthquake (around 4.3 magnitude) on Good Friday.
Newcrest on Tuesday said an assessment is underway with experts to explain the cause of the collapse. The shares fell 1.7% to $19.82.