Newcrest shareholders in class action

Gold miner to defend court proceedings over production forecast downgrades.

Newcrest Mining (NCM) says it will "vigorously defend" a class action shareholders launched against Australia's largest gold miner over its massive financial writedown in 2013.

Newcrest Mining downgraded its production forecasts and reduced the value of its assets by more than $6 billion on June 7, 2013, partly due to the significant fall in the gold price.

Law firm Slater and Gordon has now filed proceedings in the Federal Court in Melbourne on behalf of investors who bought shares in Newcrest between August 13, 2012 and June 6, 2013.

The claim alleges Newcrest had no reasonable grounds to issue its August 2012 gold production forecast, and misled and deceived investors leading up to June 2013.

Newcrest has already admitted to withholding information about its gold production from the wider investment market in the week leading up to its June 2013 downgrade announcement.

Several analysts from investment banks were alerted to the downgrade in briefings during that week.

Newcrest has been fined $1.2 million by the corporate regulator for the contravention.

The class action will seek compensation for "substantial" shareholder losses stemming from those actions, but also Newcrest's conduct well before the downgrade announcement, Slater and Gordon senior class action lawyer Ben Phi said.

"While our clients welcome Newcrest's admissions, we allege that these contraventions form part of a wider course of misconduct," he said.

Newcrest has previously said it will defend the proceedings.

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