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UPDATE 1-Newcrest Mining posts strong forecast, flags headwinds at Lihir mine

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(Adds forecast, CEO comment, detail on results)

Jan 28 (Reuters) - Australia's largest gold producer Newcrest Mining on Friday said it expects output in the March quarter to improve from the previous one, but flagged weather issues and Omicron-led headwinds at its Lihir mine.

Still, the miner posted a 10% sequential rise in second-quarter gold output, driven by higher throughput rates and increased mill capacity at its Cadia project.

Newcrest, which expects to complete the acquisition https://www.reuters.com/article/pretium-res-m-a-newcrest-idUSKBN2HT2SJ of Canadian gold miner Pretium Resources Inc in the current quarter, also said it was on track to achieve its full-year gold output guidance of 1,800 thousand ounces (koz) to 2,000 koz.

"Across all our operations, we are well-positioned for a strong second half," Chief Executive Officer Sandeep Biswas said.

For the three months ended Dec. 31, the Melbourne-based miner produced 436.1 koz of gold, higher than the 396.2 koz logged in the prior quarter.

However, that was below the 535.5 koz recorded last year due to weak output from the Lihir and Cadia projects.

Newcrest's Lihir project in Papua New Guinea experienced headwinds from adverse weather conditions and increasing COVID-19 cases that resulted in reduced manning levels.

Lihir is now expected to produce gold at the lower end of its range of 700 koz to 800 koz in fiscal 2022. (Reporting by Sameer Manekar and Harshita Swaminathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath)

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