Northern Star seeks more growth with record exploration budget

Northern Star Resources’ relentless focus on growth at its Western Australian gold operations has turned to exploration.

The miner hit a major growth target earlier this year when it reached a 600,000oz/y production rate six months ahead of schedule.

It has launched another growth program by committing a record $60 million this financial year to an exploration campaign aimed at driving increases in mine lives and production rates.

Northern Star will direct the majority of the exploration budget towards converting a significant amount of the company’s 15.9Moz resource base to reserves.

The company hopes an increase in reserves will underpin growth in production rates, supported by its processing capacity at the Kalgoorlie and Jundee operations.

Northern Star chairman Bill Beament said the company aimed to repeat the process that had been successful in driving its growth over the past three years.

“Three years ago, we initiated an organic growth strategy based on extensive exploration campaigns around our tier-one assets,” Beament said.

“This strategy culminated in mine life visibility of plus-ten years and an annual production rate of more than 600,000oz. It also enabled us to not only grow our total resources and reserves year in, year out, but to also grow them on a per-share basis.”

Northern Star reached the 600,000oz/y target four years after acquiring its gold portfolio. It has also spent $200 million on exploration to grow its resources, reserves and mine lives over the time, adding 5Moz in reserves and 9.1Moz of resources.

Beament said there were opportunities to significantly grow both resources and reserves at Jundee and the Kalgoorlie Operations over the coming year and beyond.

“The size and scale of our world-class mineralised systems mean it will, in some cases, be several years before the benefits of our exploration work are reflected in the resource and reserve figures,” Beament said.

Northern Star has grown its measured and indicated resources by 55 per cent to 9.8Moz since June 30 last year.

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