Image Caption: Ben Burger - Head of Development & Planning, Lihir, Newcrest

01 Dec 2021

Strong safety standards, and promoting collaboration, innovation, and an ‘owner’s’ mindset, are the foundation on which Newcrest Mining Limited hopes to build a stronger company.

This message was delivered to the 2021 PNG Mining and Petroleum Conference and Exhibition, by Newcrest Head of Development and Planning, Ben Burger.

“We are outstanding operators, and we continue to safely operate our assets to their full potential. We’re a leader in innovation and creativity, and create lasting value through audacious breakthroughs, especially in the areas of safety and sustainability,” Mr. Burger said.

A Global Company

Newcrest is a global company with operations in Canada, Australia and Papua New Guinea, and interests in Ecuador, North America, Chile, and Fiji.

Its operations are predominantly low-cost, long-life mines, and they have a strong portfolio of brown and greed fields and exploration projects as well.

“Our reserve base is strong, with current gold reserves representing many years of peak production. And we have a unique suite of technical capabilities in our operations.

On the 9th of November, Newcrest entered into an agreement with Pretium Resources.

Sustainability

At Newcrest sustainable mining means engaging and respecting local communities, assessing and managing safety, social and environmental impacts, and making ethical and transparent, strategic decisions.

“Sustainability is firmly integrated in our business strategy. Not only is it the right thing to do. It creates business value by encouraging innovative solutions to operational and global challenges, while mitigating business risk.

Climate Change challenges

“We have a goal of net zero carbon emissions across our operations by 2050. At Lihir, we’re focusing on reducing our impact on the environment, which includes exploring opportunities for a low carbon future.”

Newcrest is also investigating ways to reduce its power consumption, through the optimization of oxygen use in its autoclaves.

Being transparent and ethical

Mr. Burger said the company’s commitment to operating as a transparent and ethical business, also includes the release of our first Modern Slavery Statement, to identify, manage, and mitigate the risk of modern slavery across our operations.

Building strong partnerships

Newcrest’s commitment to building strong partnerships with the communities in which they operate includes helping them in times of crisis, as presented with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We established more than 40 programs globally, within our Community Support Funds in which we have invested 20 million Australian Dollars to help deliver improved access to healthcare, education, and providing further business support.”

Lihir operations

Lihir is well-positioned for the future, and a significant reduction in injury rates relflecting of improvement in on-site safety culture and behaviours.

Since August 2010, Newcrest has invested more than 3 billion US Dollars, around K10billion, in capital expenditure into Lihir, which is a significant injection into the PNG economy.

“This investment continued during a period of low gold prices. A large operation like Lihir incurs significant running costs, including investments into infrastructure, equipment, labour, maintenance, consumables, accommodation, food, fuel, and energy.”

This translates into another significant contribution to the PNG economy.

In financial year 2021, Newcrest made approximately one billion kina in payments to Papua New Guinean suppliers, and of that, more than K400m was directed to Lihirian vendors.

COVID-19 Costs

Measures that we have had to take to minimize the impact of COVID-19 on our communities and operations has also translated into some additional management costs totaling over K180m.

Lihir provides additional financial in-kind support via a K20m commitment under the Community Support Fund, plus K70m of investments into local communities. And a further K24m to manage the Lihir Medical Center, which provides medical services to employees, their families, and the local community. That equates to 50,000 consultations a year.

In the last financial year, Newcrest continued supporting a range of national social investment programs, which included:

–        Midwifery and nursing scholarships under the Australian Award

–        Supporting Australian Doctors International Rural Health Outreach Patrols and health worker training in New Ireland.

–        KTF’s teacher training in New Ireland

–        And conservation of the endangered tree kangaroos at the Port Moresby Nature Park.

Impacts on operations

Ongoing travel restrictions and quarantine measures due to the pandemic have impacted the company’s ability to retain staff, both domestically, and internationally. Fortunately, Lihirian employees have risen to the challenge and shown great resilience and flexibility during these times.

Sacrifices by employees and their families have allowed the company to maintain operations, despite longer rosters.

Support for vaccine rollout

Newcrest continues to work closely with the New Ireland Provincial Health Authority to support the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, through the training of health workers, advocating for the vaccine in the community, and enabling the delivery of the vaccine to most remote areas of the province.

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