October 23, 2019 / 9:57 PM / 3 months ago

Australia's Newcrest Mining first-quarter output down, Wafi-Golpu project delayed

(Reuters) - Australian gold miner Newcrest Mining Ltd (NCM.AX) on Thursday posted weaker gold output in the first quarter and said work on it proposed Wafi-Golpu project was delayed over the issue of how much gold Papua New Guinea gets to keep.

PNG’s commerce minister said last month that the country wants to keep 40% of gold produced from Wafi-Golpu, a potential hurdle to an agreement with co-owners Newcrest and South Africa-based Harmony Gold (HARJ.J).

Newcrest said the Wafi-Golpu work program, which was to commence this year, had been pushed back and staffing at the site was reduced accordingly.

“It is difficult to estimate the duration of this delay and the market will be advised when discussions recommence,” the company said in a statement.

Australia’s largest gold producer also said gold output for the three months ended Sept. 3 fell 6.7% to 511,636 ounces, hurt by lower grades and shutdown overruns at its Cadia mine.

Newcrest raised gold production outlook for fiscal 2020 to between 2.38 million ounces (moz) and 2.54 moz, up from its previous forecast of 2.35 moz to 2.50 moz, to reflect production from the miner’s recently acquired Red Chris operation.

Reporting by Devika Syamnath and Shreya Mariam Job in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Shailesh Kuber

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