Copper and gold miner Oz Minerals have warned the first six months of 2013 wouldn’t be pretty, and true to its word on Wednesday the company revealed an underlying loss of $36.1 million for the first half.
Adding in an asset write down, the figure jumped to a net loss of $268 million, SMH reported.
The miner was also hit by a wall slide at its Prominent Hill operation in South Australia, as well as sliding copper and gold prices.
Totalling $231.9 million in write downs, the company has spread the loss across a number of low-grade gold stockpiles and property and equipment at Prominent Hill.
Oz Minerals is the latest gold miner to fall from grace; last year the company reported a net profit of $119 million, equating to a 2012 full-year profit of $152 million.
Company chief financial officer Andrew Coles moved to reassure investors, saying the balance sheet remains strong "and supports future growth of the company".
SMH reports Oz Minerals’ cash levels which were around the $1 billion mark just a couple of years ago have fallen to just $432.9 million, due to significant outlays on its Carrapateena deposit and the Prominent Hill waste removal program.
Coles said the miner will now look at taking on debt rather than dip into its cash to execute an acquisition.
"We are confident in our ability to raise debt to make a suitable acquisition," he said.
Oz Minerals chief executive Terry Burgess attempted to quash investor fears saying the company is “at a turning point” and “the outlook from here on is an improving one”.
In July the miner warned it was anticipating a first half profit hit in the range of $200 million to $240 million after tax and axed 61 jobs at Prominent Hill in a bid to cut discretionary spending.
At the time the miner said the impairment is the result of falling copper and gold prices, but recognised the Aussie dollar’s dip below parity with the US provided some relief.