Newmont announced it will defer the full-funds investment decision for the Yanacocha Sulfides project in Peru for at least two years to advance its portfolio optimization strategy.

In light of the recent Newcrest acquisition, Tom Palmer, president and CEO of Newmont, said the company is targeting at least $2 billion in near-term cash flow improvements through portfolio optimization within the first two years. “The deferral of the Yanacocha Sulfides project represents the first step in delivering on this target, as we evaluate further opportunities to re-sequence project capital and rationalize the combined portfolio,” Palmer said.

The deferral reduces Newmont’s development capex by an estimated $300 million. The decision to defer the project was based on an analysis led by Dean Gehring, chief development officer for Peru, over the last nine months to further maximize the project’s economics. This analysis will be integral to preparing for an investment decision and will continue to support the project when construction resumes.

The company said Gehring will now shift his focus from leading the Yanacocha operation and the Sulfides project to leading integration planning for Newmont’s proposed acquisition of Newcrest in his new role as chief integration officer.

The Yanacocha Sulfides project aims to develop the first phase of sulfide deposits at Yanacocha through an integrated processing circuit, including an autoclave to produce 45% gold, 45% copper and 10% silver. The first phase focuses on developing the Yanacocha Verde and Chaquicocha deposits to extend Yanacocha’s operations beyond 2040, with second and third phases having the potential to extend the operation’s life for multiple decades.