Newmont Mining (NYSE: NEM) plans to spend US$150mn in 2013 on its 51.35%-owned US$4.8bn Minas Conga gold-copper project in Peru's Cajamarca region, CFO Russell Ball said Thursday at CIBC's 16th annual Whistler Institutional Investor Conference.
On an attributable basis, the company looks to invest US$80mn in equipment, US$40mn in reservoir construction and about US$30mn for community and social costs.
"We have downsized significantly, and we are reviewing capital cost estimates as we go forward," Ball said.
Newmont voluntarily suspended construction on the Conga project in November 2011 following violent protests which prompted the government to declare two states of emergency in Cajamarca, but has continued work on related reservoirs.
"Until we can generate acceptable project returns and we get local community and government support, we're not going to progress the project," Ball confirmed.
Newmont continues to follow its "water first approach" announced in August 2012 to focus first and foremost on the construction of four reservoirs it has agreed to build in Cajamarca to give community members a year-round supply of water.
"We do have about 2,000 people on site today building some of the sediment structures and reservoirs, and finalizing the camp construction," Ball said.
Conga is one of the biggest investment projects in Peru's US$53.7bn mining portfolio. Average output over the first five years is estimated at 650,000-750,000oz/y gold and 160M-210Mlb/y (72,575-95,254t) copper, at cash costs of US$300-400/oz and US$0.95-1.25/lb, respectively.