April 29, 2019 / 11:11 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Australia's Newcrest Mining qtr/qtr gold production hit by shutdowns at top mines

(Adds details about company’s operations)

April 30 (Reuters) - Australia-based Newcrest Mining Ltd’s gold production in the third quarter came in about 5 percent lower than in the prior quarter, hurt by lower production at most of its operations, including its flagship Cadia mine.

Total gold production for the country’s largest independent gold miner for the three months ended March 31 came in at 623,124 ounces, compared with 575,791 ounces a year ago. Production in the December quarter was 654,849 ounces, Newcrest said on Tuesday.

While planned shutdowns hit production at the Cadia mine in New South Wales, Australia, unplanned disruptions at the company’s second largest mine, Lihir, in Papua New Guinea, led to lower recoveries.

Newcrest expects production at Lihir to be at the bottom range of its 950,000-to-1.1 million-ounces target range in fiscal 2019.

It also maintained its group fiscal 2019 gold production guidance, saying it expected production at the midpoint of its guidance range of 2.4 million ounces to 2.6 million ounces.

Newcrest said last year it expected gold production in the second half of 2019 to be higher than in the first half as ore production at the Cadia East mine ramps up and because of fewer planned shutdowns at the Lihir mine.

All-in sustaining costs were down to $738 per ounce in the quarter, the company said in a statement, from $826 per ounce a year ago.

Newcrest’s stock price had risen about 17 percent in the first three months of 2019, with a corresponding rise in gold prices of around 0.7 percent. (Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil and Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Peter Cooney)

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