Newcrest managing director and chief executive officer Sandeep Biswas has flagged the importance of copper to the company’s portfolio as demand for clean energy technologies increases.
As one of the largest gold mining companies globally, Newcrest’s sites also contain considerable copper mineralisation. Its Cadia operation in New South Wales is one such site with these attributes.
“In addition to gold endowment, Newcrest has a significant exposure to copper,” Biswas said in a Denver Gold Forum presentation on Tuesday. “We have ore reserves estimating 6.8 million tonnes or approximately 15 billion pounds.
“While Newcrest will remain a gold company, this potential increase in copper provides significant benefits, which include earnings diversification, the copper credits which improve both our all-in sustaining costs (AISC) and free cash flow.
“(Gold and copper are) both two really important metals of the future, with copper in particular being key to a low carbon world which should continue to support demand.”
Newcrest produced a company record 143,000 tonnes of copper in the 2020-21 financial year, which accounted for 22 per cent of its $US4.5 billion ($5.4 billion) revenue.
“This copper exposure is a natural consequence of our search for gold with which copper is often associated,” Biswas said.
“Our search for gold with which copper is often associated is our skill set, including our capability to economically mine deep porphyry ore bodies and it’s also a function of the geology of the regions in which we established operations.”
Newcrest is focussed on finding two to three greenfield discoveries within the next three to five years.
According to Biswas, Australia remains a major focal point for its next gold discoveries, along with North America and South America.
“We think Australia is a natural area of focus for us particularly around Telfer infrastructure with Havieron, Juri and Wilki packages,” he said.
“But we’re also looking at other parts of Australia, the potential there is more deep under cover type discoveries.”
The Havieron and Juri projects in Western Australia are joint ventures between Newcrest and Greatland Gold, while the nearby Wilki project is a joint venture with Antipa Minerals.
Newcrest has scheduled a pre-feasibility study for Havieron later this year, which Biswas expects will give a clear outline to the company’s mid-term performance expectations.
“Our pre-feasibility study to be released later this year is expected to be just the first stage in Havieron’s evolution,” Biswas said.
“Mineralisation remains open in multiple directions outside our inferred mineral resource estimate and we’ve seen remarkable drill results from below the resource boundary with good intercepts from the northern breccia and the north west crescent”