Northern Star Resources is confident of the role the Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mine (KCGM) operations will play in its goal to become a two million ounce per year gold producer.
The company has successfully ramped up operations at its KCGM sites, with an increased production rate of 72 million tonnes per annum achieved by the end of the September quarter across its Golden Pike, Morrison, Oroya Brownhill and Fimiston South operations.
KCGM is part of Northern Star’s Kalgoorlie production centre, which also includes the Carosue Dam and Kalgoorlie Operations.
The company also increased underground mined tonnes at KCGM by 17 per cent.
Northern Star managing director Stuart Tonkin said the quarter’s results and progress on its production growth strategy were in line with the company’s expectations.
“This is a solid start to the new financial year and puts us on track to meet our FY22 (financial year 2022) guidance,” Tonkin said.
“At the same time, we made strong progress on our development projects in line with our strategy to be a two million ounce a year producer by FY26.
“With solid production, and costs running slightly above guidance, cash earnings were strong.
“This resulted in cash and bullion of more than $750 million at September 30, after returning $110 million in dividends to shareholders in the quarter. With production, costs and earnings planned to improve as FY22 progresses, we are very well positioned to continue to invest capital into those projects which generate the strongest returns.”
Tonkin said Pogo’s performance during the quarter was impacted by the tie-in and commissioning of the processing plant upgrade, which will increase throughput capacity from one million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) to 1.3Mtpa.
“We seized the chance to complete other major works, including replacing the primary conveyor belt that transports ore from underground to the processing plant,” Tonkin said.
“This resulted in 24 days total downtime, which reduced throughput and gold production, in turn increasing costs per ounce.
“This work is now finished and we expect to see a significant benefit for both production and costs from the December quarter onwards. The mill bottlenecks have been removed and throughput is increasing in line with expectations for FY22 guidance.”
The KCGM expansion feasibility study continued with a market update anticipated in the June quarter of 2022.