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Newcrest’s Third-Quarter Gold Output Increases 14%

Newcrest Mining Ltd., Australia’s largest gold mining company, reported third-quarter production increased 14 percent as it expands operations.

Output rose to 416,651 ounces in the three months ended March 31, from 364,794 ounces a year earlier, the Melbourne- based company said today in a statement. That compares with an estimate of 460,000 ounces by UBS AG.

Newcrest’s Chief Executive Officer Ian Smith wants to buy rival Lihir Gold Ltd. to create the world’s fifth-biggest bullion producer. Production at the Hidden Valley mine in Papua New Guinea was below expectations because of commissioning delays, Newcrest said.

The company cut its fiscal year forecast for the mine to between 65,000 and 75,000 ounces, down from an earlier estimate of between 75,000 and 85,000 ounces. Group gold output will be at the lower end of its guidance of between 1.81 million ounces and 1.91 million ounces, it said.

Copper output was 20,598 metric tons, down 12 percent on a year earlier, the company said today. Newcrest reaffirmed its fiscal year forecast for copper production of between 85,000 and 90,000 tons.

Newcrest on March 29 offered one of its shares for every nine of Lihir’s, plus 22.5 Australian cents cash, less any dividend declared this half. The Melbourne-based company had made an initial proposal of one of its shares for every 9.5 Lihir stock on Feb. 15.

The offer is a “win-win” situation for both companies, Credit Suisse Group AG said. “Both companies are better off as a merged group than stand alone,” Credit Suisse analyst Michael Slifirski said in an April 20 report.

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