DISRUPTION to operations at Lihir mine site was temporarily experienced over a weekend in early June due to illegal actions initiated by a small subset of community and local commercial interests, Newcrest Mining said.

Newcrest said the plant was shut-down for about 36 hours, starting up again on the evening of 8 June.

Temporary closure of the mine will result in some lost production, but production guidance for Lihir for financial year 2015 remains unchanged at between 680,000 and 720,000 ounces, the company said.

Newcrest said the Mineral Resources Authority did not authorise the action and has previously provided notice that the power to disrupt mining operations resides solely under the authority of the Mineral Resources Authority and any action outside of that is deemed illegal.

Newcrest is engaging with the Mineral Resources Authority and other stakeholders, including landowners, provincial and local level governments.

The disruption was closely managed by Newcrest site management with a safe, responsible and phased scale-down of operations occurring in accordance with the PNG Mine Safety Act, the company said.

Newcrest said all parties agreed to an audit process, led and co-ordinated by the Mineral Resources Authority, including a review of commercial engagement processes and benefit allocation associated with landowner commercial activity, on 14 May.

“Newcrest is committed to working with landowners and all levels of government to create that outcome,” Newcrest said.