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Newcrest Mining Limited lifts profit amid record production at PNG mine

Newcrest Mining Limited (ASX: NCM) has posted an increase in underlying profit of around 16% as the company reported another year of record production at a key Papua New Guinea gold mine.

The gold miner stated that revenue for FY 2018 was up 2% on the previous year, coming in at around $3.56 billion, helping to boost underlying profit to $459 million.

The mining company, with operations in Australia, Asia, Africa and the Pacific also said that it had produced more than 2.3 million ounces of gold for FY 2018 with 955,000 ounces of that figure coming from the company’s Lihir mine in PNG.

It was the third consecutive year in which Newcrest achieved record production from the mine and the company has stated that it could achieve another year of record production from the Lihir mine if it hits the upper end of its target and yields more than 1 million ounces in FY 2019.

Newcrest Mining, with other key mines including its Telfer and Cadia projects, also expects the company’s overall gold production in FY 2019 to exceed FY 2018’s production with the miner predicting it will dig up between 2.35 million and 2.6 million ounces of the precious metal this financial year.

Newcrest Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Sandeep Biswas, said the company delivered $1.6 billion in EBITDA in FY 2018 and made significant investments.

“The Cadia East panel cave continued to expand and the operation achieved its target of an annualised production rate of 30 million tonnes in June 2018, a key milestone for the operation,” Mr Biwas said.

“All operations were free cash flow positive.”

“We invested in our future growth by advancing Wafi-Golpu, our world class gold-copper development project, and by completing the Cadia Expansion Prefeasibility Study that outlines an attractive path towards further expansion of this core asset. We also made an equity investment in Lundin Gold, giving us exposure to their promising Fruta del Norte gold asset in Ecuador.”

“Our strong free cash flow generation has been applied to further reducing net debt and strengthening the balance sheet, as well as paying dividends to shareholders.”

Newcrest ended FY 2018 with $601 million in free cash flow and reduced net debt by 31% to around $1 billion.

The miner also stated it will pay its shareholders a final dividend of US 11 cents, bringing the company’s total annual dividend to US 18.5 cents. The dividend is expected to be paid in October.

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