Northern Star keeps Pogo moving amid COVID-19

The Pogo operation. Image: Northern Star Resources

Northern Star Resources has maintained full employment at the Pogo gold mine despite encountering 36 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Alaskan mine’s workforce.

The effects of COVID-19 reduced its mining volumes in the second half of the 2020 financial year by around 20 per cent from plan.

The company’s group production subsequently slipped, closing the financial year with 905,177 ounces. This was around 1.6 per cent below the lower end of its 2020 financial year guidance.

Northern Star chair Bill Beament said the company’s staff and business partners had done an outstanding job in very difficult circumstances.

“(Our COVID-19 measures) incurred additional costs, reduced productivities and restricted production,” Beament said.

“To generate quarterly free cashflow of $217.9 million in these circumstances is an outstanding result, which reflects the performance of our staff and business partners, our success in being able to operate continuously throughout the pandemic and the underlying strength of our assets.”

Northern Star produced 13 per cent more gold at the Kalgoorlie operations in Western Australia in the June quarter compared with the March period, totalling 83,945 ounces.

It also made strong progress in improving underground activities at the KCGM joint venture, with mined tones increasing by 25 per cent from the March quarter.

The KCGM operations, however, produced less gold in the June quarter (53,397 ounces, Northern Star’s share) compared with the previous period (58,564).

At Jundee, Northern Star has achieved a processing capacity of 2.7 million tonnes on the back of a new ball mill.

The company’s production shot up from 54,568 ounces in the March quarter to 80,666 ounces in the June period.

“The teams at our Jundee and Kalgoorlie operations excelled and we made strong progress towards our goal of unlocking the significant upside at KCGM,” Beament concluded.

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