Tag Archives: Sandeep Biswas

Newcrest shores up wind energy input at Cadia mine with Tilt Renewables PPA

Newcrest Mining has entered into a 15-year renewable Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Tilt Renewables Ltd to secure a significant part of the future projected energy requirements of its Cadia copper-gold mine in New South Wales, Australia.

The PPA, together with the forecast decarbonisation of NSW electricity generation, is expected to deliver a circa-20% reduction in Newcrest’s greenhouse gas emissions and is a significant step towards achieving Newcrest’s target of a 30% reduction by 2030, the miner said.

Tilt Renewables is the owner and developer of the Rye Park Wind Farm, located north of Yass and east of Boorowa in New South Wales. From January 2024, when commercial operations are targeted to commence, Newcrest will contract for around 55% of Rye Park’s planned circa-400 MW output, which is equivalent to more than 40% of Cadia’s projected energy demand from 2024.

Rye Park Wind Farm, which comes with a capital expenditure bill of A$700 million ($530 million), will become the largest wind farm directly enabled by a corporate PPA in Australia, according to Newcrest, and the project is now expected to move from the development stage into financing and construction.

The PPA is conditional on Tilt Renewables achieving financial close for the project and is a contract for difference requiring no upfront capital investment by the miner. “The PPA will act as a partial hedge against future electricity price increases and will also provide Newcrest with access to large-scale generation certificates which it intends to surrender to achieve a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions,” the company explained.

Newcrest Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Sandeep Biswas, said: “This new contract secures renewable energy for our Cadia operations, reduces carbon emissions and helps us maintain competitive energy costs.

“This is a critical step in our transition to sustainable energy use at our operations. As part of our Climate Change Policy, released last June, we have committed to a significant reduction in emissions intensity, and this agreement is a major step towards delivering on that objective.”

He concluded: “We continue to explore ways to reduce Cadia’s emissions intensity and our long-term aim is to virtually eliminate Cadia’s energy-related greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, we continue to pursue emissions-intensity reduction initiatives at our other operating sites.”

Newcrest looks to new FMS, haul truck trays for Red Chris improvements

With gold and copper production dropping and costs increasing, the Red Chris mine, in British Columbia, Canada, is set for a number of improvement initiatives, according to 70% owner Newcrest Mining.

In the company’s September quarter results, Newcrest said Red Chris gold and copper production came in at 12,636 oz and 7,050 t, respectively, during the three-month period. This was down from the 15,440 oz of gold and 8,401 t of copper registered in the June 2020 quarter.

Newcrest said the circa-3,000 oz drop in gold output reflected a higher proportion of lower-grade stockpile material being fed to the mill due to unseasonal rainfall hitting the availability of higher grade ex-pit material.

This lower-grade mill feed adversely impacted recovery rates, partially offset by a 13% increase in mill throughput following process control improvements and a higher proportion of stockpiled material with “characteristics that enabled increased processing rates”, it said.

Red Chris’ all-in sustaining cost of $2,621/oz in the September quarter were significantly up on the $1,536/oz seen in the previous quarter. This was driven by increased sustaining capital expenditure, higher operating costs due to “seasonal benefits allowing increased activities to be scheduled”, together with the impact of a strengthening Canadian dollar against the US dollar and lower copper sales volume, it said. These factors were only partially offset by the benefit of a higher realised copper price.

With one quarter of Newcrest’s 2021 financial year down, the company said it is planning to put in place a number of additional improvements across the site. Included in this is a new fleet management system, the replacement of the conventional Cat 793 truck trays with “high-performance trays” to realise payload benefits, and several throughput and recovery-related projects.

The company has 45,000-55,000 oz of gold and 25,000-30,000 t of copper production slated for Red Chris in its 2021 financial year.

Upon announcing the acquisition of a majority stake in the asset in 2019, Newcrest Managing Director and CEO, Sandeep Biswas, said there was potential to turn the Red Chris orebody into a Tier 1 operation.

It also outlined a two-stage plan to deliver value from the $806.5 million acquisition. This included applying its “Edge transformation approach” to the existing Red Chris open-pit mine and processing plant, and potentially leveraging industry leading mining methods and technology such as block caving, coarse ore flotation and ore sorting.

Newcrest to apply ‘unique technical capabilities’ to copper-gold mine in BC, Canada

Newcrest Mining has entered into an agreement to acquire a 70% joint venture interest in Imperial Metals’ Red Chris copper-gold mine and surrounding tenements in British Columbia, Canada, for $806.5 million.

The deal will see Newcrest become Red Chris operator, in charge of deciding how to exploit the copper-gold porphyry open-pit mine.

Newcrest said the acquisition of Red Chris was “a measured entry” into North America and aligned with its stated strategic goals of building a global portfolio of Tier 1 orebodies where Newcrest can “deliver value through application of its unique operating capabilities”.

Red Chris comes with a mineral resource of 20 Moz of gold and 5.9 Mt of copper. The acquired property comprises 23,142 ha of land with 77 mineral tenures, five of which are mining leases, and sits within the traditional territory of the Tahltan Nation.

Newcrest Managing Director and CEO, Sandeep Biswas, said: “We are delighted to add this asset into the Newcrest portfolio. Following due diligence, we believe we can bring our unique technical capabilities to unlock the full value potential of this orebody in one of the premier gold districts in the world.

“We have identified a clear pathway to potentially turn this orebody into a Tier 1 operation. The geology of Red Chris is similar to our Cadia orebodies in Australia and we will be applying our considerable experience in exploration, open-pit mining, caving and processing to maximise the value of Red Chris and the opportunities in the surrounding region. We look at this opportunity in the same way as we do with Cadia, where we have proven we can create significant value from deep underground porphyry orebodies.”

Following the intensive due diligence process Biswas mentioned, Newcrest said it has a two-stage plan to deliver value from the acquisition:

Stage one will see the company apply its “Edge transformation approach” to the existing Red Chris open-pit mine and processing plant.

“Newcrest believes it can add significant value to Red Chris by applying the same Edge mind-set and approach that has led to significant operating improvements across all Newcrest operations over the last five years,” the company said.

Examples of where successful changes have been implemented to safely accelerate cash maximisation include process plant optimisation (debottlenecking, recovery uplifts, process control, improving concentrate quality), mine optimisation (improving orebody knowledge, grade control, fleet management system, mine planning) and supply chain cost reduction, according to Newcrest.

As part of this stage, Newcrest said it will initiate an extensional drilling programme.

“Newcrest intends to optimise the current open-pit mine plan and pursue initiatives to improve operational productivities and milling recoveries,” Newcrest said.

The current open-pit mine has an existing 11 Mt/y processing plant and associated infrastructure which allows ‘brownfield’ expansion options in the future, it added.

Stage 2 will see the company apply “industry leading technology”.

The company said: “Newcrest believes it can add significant shareholder value by applying technology to Red Chris that it has successfully applied at its other operations.”

Examples include block caving – “Newcrest believes the orebody has the potential to become a high margin bulk underground block cave. Newcrest will accelerate the necessary drilling and studies. Newcrest intends to conduct studies and review the ore reserve of the Red Chris operation to allow for reporting in accordance with JORC 2012 to take into account the potential transition to a future block cave operation.”

Coarse ore flotation could also be considered, the company said.

“Having demonstrated the recovery benefits of coarse ore flotation at Cadia, Newcrest will look to apply this technology to Red Chris,” Newcrest said.

And, then there is the application of one of the most popular technologies today: ore sensing and sorting, of which Newcrest said: “Positive results from trials underway at Telfer may lead to this technology being deployed at Red Chris.”

In terms of exploration, Newcrest said it would apply its experience in deep underground brownfield and greenfield exploration on the existing orebody and the broader land package to potential uncover more tonnes of copper and ounces of gold.

“Newcrest has identified opportunities to expand Red Chris’s mineral resources along strike and at depth in areas where there has been limited deep drilling to date. Historical shallow drilling indicates that there is also potential for further deep discoveries to be made in the larger tenement package.

“Newcrest will be targeting prospective regions beyond the current mine looking for further porphyry centres including small footprint, higher-grade gold-rich porphyry systems leveraging knowledge gained from Cadia which has similar geological features,” Newcrest said.

Red Chris, on the northern edge of the Skeena Mountains, commenced construction in 2012 and was completed in November 2014 for a total cost of C$661 million ($492 million). Commercial production commenced in July 2015 and, in the first nine month of 2018, the mine produced 20,320 t of copper and 29,569 oz of gold.

Newcrest looks for automation and artificial intelligence boost with TCS collaboration

Newcrest Mining has signed a collaboration agreement with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), a leading global IT services, consulting and business solutions organisation, to create an Innovation and Digital Operations Centre (IDOC) in India.

The IDOC will leverage TCS’ global research and innovation networks to explore opportunities to improve activities across Newcrest’s business including ore processing, techniques for predictive targeting, and leveraging learning from other industries, the gold miner said.

Newcrest will work with TCS experts in engineering, research and development, data analytics and IoT, and process control. The collaboration with TCS will build on Newcrest’s existing digital platforms. This has included numerous big data initiatives including a collaboration with Petra Data Sciences at the Lihir gold mine’s mill in Papua New Guinea.

Sandeep Biswas (pictured), Newcrest Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, said: “We want to enhance and accelerate the way we use automation and artificial intelligence across our business to improve our returns to shareholders. I welcome our new partnership with TCS. It presents an exciting opportunity to leverage TCS’ and Newcrest’s strong track record of innovation.”

Biswas added that TCS would help the company fast track its transformation towards its 2020 aspirations. This includes, by 2020:

  • Zero fatalities and industry-leading total recordable injury frequency rate;
  • First quartile organisational health;
  • First quartile group all-in sustaining costs per ounce;
  • Five “breakthrough successes” in its technology and innovation division by 2020, and;
  • Exposure to five Tier One orebodies (operations, development projects or equity investments).

Debashis Ghosh, President – Energy & Resources at TCS, said: “We are excited to embark upon this innovation and transformation journey with Newcrest, strongly backed by our Business 4.0 framework.

“Our independent agile method provides the foundation for the strategic collaboration with Newcrest, for the design and adoption of innovative digital mining solutions to enable Newcrest’s aspirations.”