The pre-feasibility study disappointed investors buoyed by the resumption of mining at Newcrest's flagship Lihir mine in PNG, also announced yesterday. Newcrest shares rose to $27.26, before falling back to close flat on $26.70.
Newcrest revealed base case and enhanced production estimates for the Golpu deposit, of between 400,000-580,000 ounces of gold a year, and 250,000 to 300,000 tonnes of copper a year.
In addition, Deutsche had forecast $3 billion to $5 billion in capital expenditure, but Newcrest estimated $US4.8 billion in initial capital costs before first production in 2019, while total capital expenditure over the 32-year life of the project would total $US9.8 billion.
Golpu, a 50-50 partnership between Newcrest and Africa's Harmony Gold Mining, is part of the Wafi-Golpu project in the Morobe Province of PNG. Golpu would move into full feasibility in the first half of next year, Newcrest said.
Golpu was a ''world-class deposit with an expected mine life in excess of 25 years and project unit cash costs at the bottom of the industry cost curve'', the company said.
Newcrest lifted its ore reserve estimate for the Golpu deposit to 12.4 million ounces of gold (up from 1.3 million ounces) and 5.4 million tonnes of copper (up from 0.8 million tonnes).
Newcrest said a concept study was under way to assess Wafi development options, leveraging infrastructure planned for the nearby Golpu deposit.
For Wafi, Golpu and the nearby Nambonga copper and gold deposit combined, indicated mineral resources totalled 22.9 million ounces of gold, 7.46 million tonnes of copper and 42.4 million ounces of silver.
A further 5.7 million ounces of contained gold, 1.6 million tonnes of copper and 8.1 million ounces of silver were defined as inferred mineral resources.
Meanwhile, mining resumed yesterday at Newcrest's Lihir operations after two days of industrial action following a dispute over a benefits package review.
''The parties have defined a pathway to resolve the causes of the dispute and agreed to work in a renewed spirit of co-operation to conclude the review of the Integrated Benefits Package,'' Newcrest told the market yesterday. Sydney Morning Herald