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Newmont trims 2020 gold-output guidance; four mines reopening

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(Kitco News) - Newmont Mining Corp. (NYSE: NEM, TSX: NGT), the world’s largest gold producer, downwardly revised its 2020 production guidance Tuesday due to temporary mine closures because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, the company said it is in the process of restarting operations at four of the five mines where work was suspended.

Newmont now lists guidance calling for attributable gold production of around 6 million ounces of gold in 2020, compared to the Jan. 2 guidance of 6.4 million.

Consolidated all-in sustaining costs are now projected $1,015 an ounce, compared to $975 previously. The company also trimmed sustaining capital expenditures and cut spending on advanced projects and exploration.

Newmont said the revised guidance assumes that restarted operations will continue for the remainder of 2020 without any further significant interruptions.

Previously, mining was temporarily halted when a number of national and provincial governments shut down businesses not considered essential, in order to combat the spread of COVID-19. Now, Newmont said, mining is considered “essential” in nearly every jurisdiction where the company operates.

The revised 2020 outlook factors in the impacts from five operations temporarily placed into “care and maintenance” for an average of 45 days, Newmont said. Officials said the second quarter is expected to have the lowest output, but the highest costs per ounce of 2020 as mining ramps back up.

“We are pleased to be ramping up operations at our four sites previously placed in care and maintenance, and we remain committed to protecting our workforce and neighboring communities,” said Tom Palmer, president and chief executive officer.

Operations are being ramped up at Peñasquito in Mexico, Cerro Negro in Argentina, Éléonore in Quebec and Yanacocha in Peru, Newmont said. The company put Musselwhite, located in Ontario, on care and maintenance to prevent transmission of the virus into nearby First Nations communities. This is the only mine not back in operation yet, with officials looking to work with First Nations communities to develop a safe restart plan. 

Of the company’s 12 operating mines and two joint ventures, 13 sites will be fully operational in the coming weeks, Newmont said.

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