Hidden Valley’s December 2012 quarter performance was a “very disappointing” 20,649 ounces of gold and 235,312 ounces of silver at a production cash cost of A$1,584 per ounce of gold, according to Newcrest Mining Ltd’s quarterly report released yesterday.
This compares with the September 2012 quarter performance of 22,137 ounces of gold and 223,936 ounces of silver at a cash cost of A$1,355 per ounce of gold.
“Hidden Valley’s production and cost performance continues to be very disappointing,” the report said.
“Significant effort is being applied to improve productivity and reduce costs.
“With the later commissioning of the crusher, production is expected to come in below guidance for the full financial year at around 90,000 ounces.
“Newcrest will carefully review the performance of the asset after the crusher is commissioned in April 2013.”
The report said material movements and gold grades were marginally higher in the December quarter.
“Lower gold production resulted from reduced mill throughput due to lower plant availability during the quarter,” it said,
“Silver production increased as a result of higher grades and recovery rates.”
The report said crusher installation at the start of the overland conveyor was progressing and would be commissioned in April, approximately two months later than forecast.
“After the crusher is commissioned, operating costs are expected to fall with the removal of higher cost trucking of ore to the mill,” it said,
“Higher unit cash costs in the December 2012 quarter resulted from lower gold production and increased site costs.
“Cost increases were primarily driven by higher energy costs associated with increased reliance on-site power generation, and higher levels of training and community expenditure.”