MORE GOLD FOR LIHIR

MORE GOLD FOR LIHIR

LISTED Brisbane miner Lihir Gold Limited (LGL) has forecast a rise to 1.3 million ounces in 2012 as expansion projects lift output in its PNG and Ivory Coast operations.

The company delivered its fourth successive year of record gold production in 2009, with output exceeding one million ounces for the first time in history.

Production for 2009 was up 27 per cent, totalling 1.12 million ounces. Output rose to 278,000 ounces in the final quarter, an increase of 19 per cent over the preceding three month period.

In 2010, output from LGL’s three producing operations is expected to be in the range of 960,000 to 1.06 million ounces.

Acting chief executive officer Phil Baker, says the full year production result had advanced LGL into the elite ranks of gold miners producing more than one million ounces of gold per year.

“Operationally the company performed very strongly in 2009, enabling us to meet market guidance for both gold production and unit cash costs,” says Baker, who has replaced outgoing CEO Arthur Hood.

“Going forward we aim to achieve consistent and reliable performance at all our operations, delivering on our guidance and keeping expansion projects on track.”

LGL’s production growth in 2009 was due to a combination of record output at the cornerstone Lihir Island operation, together with a full 12-month production contribution from the Bonikro and Mt Rawdon mines acquired in mid-2008.

Full year production at Lihir Island totalled a record 853,000 ounces in 2009, up from 771,000 ounces in 2008 and well in excess of the 770,000 – 840,000 ounces forecast for the year. The Million Ounce Plant Upgrade progressed into construction in 2009, with the project on track to lift gold production at Lihir to an average of one million ounces from 2012.

“The strong result from Lihir Island confirms the enhanced reliability of the operation following the various improvements we’ve implemented over recent years,” says Baker.

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