Big turnaround for Fosterville and Stawell gold mines

Northgate Minerals yesterday projected that the Fosterville and Stawell gold mines, would record total production levels of 206,500 ounces for the 2009 calendar year.

Northgate Minerals yesterday projected that the Fosterville and Stawell gold mines, would record total production levels of 206,500 ounces for the 2009 calendar year.

Speaking at the Paydirt 2009 Resources Victoria Conference, Northgate executive general manager Luc Guimond said there had been a successful operational turnaround at both mines since they were acquired by the company in February 2008.

“Under the previous ownership, both mines were undercapitalised, which prevented them from operating efficiently and from developing additional reserves through exploration in what is a prolific gold mining region,” he said.

“The turnaround at Fosterville has generated higher gold recoveries every year, while cash costs have come down and are trending downwards.”

Fosterville delivered around 25,500 ounces for each of the opening quarters and is forecasting around 31,000 ounces for the both current September quarter and the final December period.

This equates to a total of 110,000 ounces at an average cost of $500 an ounce.

According to Guimond, the company is expecting much of the same from the Stawell mine.

The mine generated 22,392 ounces in the March quarter, 20,066 in the June period and is forecasting around 24,000 ounces in the September quarter and 30,000 in the final period.

Guimond said gold recoveries at Fosterville had moved from 65% to 86% in the opening half of last year with a dramatic decline in cash costs from $1,207 an ounce to $483 currently.

“We are looking to push that to 90% recovery levels with new systems and equipment contributing to the mine’s increasing production profile,” he said.

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