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Newcrest chases new investors

NEWCREST Mining is looking abroad to sustain its ambitious growth plans, with a new stockmarket listing in Canada set to complement its growing focus on Asian assets.

NEWCREST Mining is looking abroad to sustain its ambitious growth plans, with a new stockmarket listing in Canada set to complement its growing focus on Asian assets.

A record annual profit of $908 million allows the goldminer to pay shareholders an unfranked 20? "special dividend" in addition to an unfranked 20? dividend.

The bonus payout came as Newcrest revealed yesterday that it would tap a bigger pool of shareholders within six months, after directors approved a long-discussed second listing on the Toronto stock exchange.

The chief executive, Greg Robinson, said the Canadian listing would give the company a broader base of shareholders in Europe and North America, and would pit it "more directly" against its goldmining competitors. The pitch to overseas investors will be matched by a stronger focus on foreign assets under a five-year, $9 billion plan to increase production by 50 per cent.

While the company's Cadia Valley operations in NSW will remain a significant part of the five-year growth plan, the Lihir Gold acquisition in Papua New Guinea is one of several projects in the Asia-Pacific region that will absorb large amounts of capital between now and June 2016.

After 2017, Newcrest's growth plans will be dominated by another PNG project, the Wafi-Golpu gold and copper joint venture.

Mr Robinson said Newcrest would channel its efforts into growing those projects rather than more costly local sites like Telfer in Western Australia.

"If we saw conditions that were more positive then we might look to expand [the mine] further into the five-year plan, but at this stage we are letting people know that our expectation is that they will be stable," he said.

Mr Robinson said he expected gold prices to remain high for the "medium term", and the company was confident it could fund its $9 billion growth plan through cash flows.

Newcrest shares closed 33? lower at $40.40 yesterday.


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