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Newcrest books higher H1 gold, copper output on Lihir improvement

Newcrest Mining Ltd. improved its gold and copper output in the first half of the 2017 financial year following increased throughput at the Lihir mine in Papua New Guinea and the Cadia mine in New South Wales, Australia.

Managing Director and CEO Sandeep Biswas on Jan. 30 said Lihir reached target annualized throughput of 13 million tonnes, which was a record for the site.

This contributed to overall gold production for the half year of 1.23 million ounces, compared to 1.20 million ounces in the first half of fiscal 2016.

Gold production for the December quarter was in line with the prior quarter, at 614,715 ounces.

Cadia also continued to increase mill throughput during the quarter, processing ore at an annualized rate of 26.4 million tonnes, a 6% increase over the prior quarter and above the plant's nameplate capacity.

Copper output, meanwhile, climbed to 48,899 tonnes in the first half of the fiscal year, from 38,918 tonnes a year earlier.

December-quarter copper production increased to 25,176 tonnes, from 23,723 tonnes in the September quarter.

Newcrest also lowered its quarterly all-in sustaining costs by 4.9%, to US$751 per ounce, compared to the prior quarter.

The lower costs were aided by decreases at all sites except the Bonikro mine on the Ivory Coast, as well as the divestment of the Hidden Valley mine in Papua New Guinea.

Newcrest is aiming to produce 2.35 million ounces to 2.6 million ounces of gold and 80,000 tonnes to 90,000 tonnes of copper in fiscal 2017.