Pogo ramp up guides Northern Star into record territory

The Pogo operation. Image: Northern Star Resources

Northern Star Resources is confident of achieving record gold production in the fourth quarter of the 2019 financial year with the ongoing ramp up at the Pogo mine in Alaska, United States.

Pogo reached a turning point when the long-hole stoping mining method was introduced at the site late in the March quarter and continued to take effect during April.

Northern Star’s 185,296 ounces of gold sales in the quarter included 82,000 ounces in the month of March alone, reflecting the performance of Pogo.

In light of the strong progress, Northern Star is set for record production in the June quarter of 235,000–260,000 ounces at an all-in sustaining cost (AISC) of $1075–1175 an ounce.

“The introduction of the new mining method and the late delivery of some equipment reduced production at Pogo, which in turn temporarily drove up the costs per ounce,” Northern Star chairman Bill Beament said.

“But these targets are starting to pay dividends, as the results in the months of March and April show. … We always said it would take 18 months to implement our strategy at Pogo, so despite the temporary delays we are still on schedule.”

Pogo’s long-hole stoping method represented only 11 per cent of the March quarter’s processed tones but has risen to 27 per cent in April to date.

The mine experienced a delay in equipment delivery, with only five of the scheduled 16 pieces of Pogo’s underground mobile plant arriving in the March quarter, limiting production temporarily and driving up its AISC to $2062 an ounce.

The delivery of its remaining 11 units in the June quarter will see Pogo’s productivities and efficiencies continue to rise and its unit costs declining, according to the company.

Northern Star maintained its group 2019 financial year production guidance at 850,000–900,000 ounces, with its Australian production anticipated to reach the top end of the guidance of 600,000–640,000 ounces.

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