Newcrest's Cadia fix is in

NEWCREST Mining’s long-term gold recovery challenge at its flagship Cadia mine near Orange in NSW dominated the group’s investor day last week, writes Barry FitzGerald.

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Cadia is one of Australia's largest gold producers

There was no surprise in that as it had become a burning issue for the market ever since the August release of a prefeasibility study in to an expansion of Cadia's treatment capacity at a knockdown price of US$58 million.

While it was great that the cost of the expansion to a processing rate of 33Mtpa was $252 million less than the $310 million originally estimated to get to "only'" 32Mtpa, the market choked when it saw that the life-of-mine gold recovery rate was all of 71.6%.

That compares with the actual 78.3% in the latest September quarter and meant that close to 30% of the gold would be headed to the tailings dam in the long-term. Because the mine's head grade is headed sharply lower to a skinny 0.49gpt in the 45-year life-of-mine plan, the gold recovery rate is...