Newcrest maintains guidance, draws down debt

NEWCREST Mining has established a A$20 million community support fund to provide assistance in the fight against COVID-19.
Newcrest maintains guidance, draws down debt Newcrest maintains guidance, draws down debt Newcrest maintains guidance, draws down debt Newcrest maintains guidance, draws down debt Newcrest maintains guidance, draws down debt

Newcrest CEO Sandeep Biswas

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Newcrest managing director and CEO Sandeep Biswas said the health and safety of the company's people and host communities was its prime concern.

"The community support fund will initially focus on increasing the availability of medical care and equipment to cope with the pandemic, as well as assisting in the provision of other essential goods and services, in the communities that host Newcrest's operations worldwide," he said.

Around half the fund would be dedicated to assisting Papua New Guinea's preparations and management, while a portion will go towards vaccine research.

Newcrest said it had no confirmed cases of COVID-19 at its operations and it had effectively managed restrictions around travel.

At Lihir in PNG, it's been more than two weeks since a Newcrest-chartered flight landed on Lihir and the company attracted key personnel to site before air travel was suspended.

Rosters in Western Australia have been altered to minimise interaction, and drive-in, drive-out activities and face-to-face engagement with the Martu people was suspended over two weeks ago, but the company is providing practical support to traditional owners.

Rosters at Red Chris in British Columbia have also been adjusted to provide for longer on and off-site periods, to decrease the amount of travel required and enable First Nation employees increased time to self-isolate before returning to their local communities.

Cadia in New South Wales is primarily a residential workforce.

Newcrest said operations continued and full-year guidance, which was revised down last month, was maintained at 2.1-2.2 million ounces of gold and 140,000-145,000 tonnes of copper.

The company noted its guidance for the 32%-owned Fruta del Norte mine in Ecuador of 20,000oz of attributable gold was at risk due to the mine's current suspension.

Newcrest said on March 25 it drew down US$600 million under its committed bilateral bank debt facilities to increase its cash on hand to about $1.4 billion at March 31.

The company also has access to a further $1.4 billion of liquidity in the form of undrawn committed bank facilities.

Yesterday UBS cut its forecast for Newcrest's full-year dividend payment in August to 7.5c per share, half of its 15c minimum, given the company's debt and expenditure plans.

Newcrest shares rose 3.2% to A$26.24 as gold futures rose as high as $1735 an ounce this morning.

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