St Barbara basks in strong gold market conditions

St Barbara

The Leonora operations. Image: St Barbara

St Barbara has increased its gold production in the 2020 financial year despite lower contribution from the Gwalia mine in Western Australia.

The company produced 381,887 ounces of gold during the period, an increase from the 362,346 ounces produced last year.

Its gold sales amounted to 381,105 ounces of the precious metal, compared with 368,346 ounces in 2019, at an average price of $2123 as gold prices continue to flourish.

However, sales from the Gwalia operations (171,840 ounces) decreased from the previous year (222,625 ounces), which was attributable to lower grade of ore mined during 2020.

The ore grade decreased from 11.1 grams per tonne of gold last year to 7.7 grams per tonne in 2020 as the company mined through lower grade stopes and mining extended deeper underground.

Activities related to the Gwalia extension project wound up during the last quarter of the 2020 financial year, allowing for underground mine activity to increase.

“With the Gwalia extension project and Atlantic Gold integration complete, we are embarking on an integrated company-wide transformation project encompassing all aspects of our operations and capital projects,” St Barbara managing director and chief executive Craig Jetson said.

“A renewed operating model will prioritise technical expertise and embed business performance to drive productivity improvements and cost reductions across our business.

“With strong gold prices and a positive market outlook, we are committed to positioning our business to capitalise on these conditions.”

St Barbara has also updated its mineral reserves following the acquisition of the Canada-based Atlantic Gold in July, as well as further sulphide drilling at the Simberi project in Papua New Guinea.

The company’s total ore reserves are now sitting at 93.6 million tonnes at an average grade of two grams per tonne of gold for six million ounces of contained gold.

This comprises of 12 million tonnes at 5.7 grams per tonne for 2.2 million ounces of contained gold at the Leonora operations in Western Australia; 31.1 million tonnes at 2.1 grams per tonne for 2.1 million ounces of contained gold at Simberi; and 50.5 million tonnes at 1.1 grams per tonne for 1.7 million ounces of contained gold at Atlantic Gold.

St Barbara has also reduced its ore reserve for the Gwalia mine by 181,000 ounces to 9.4 million tonnes, driven by mining depletion.

The ore reserves at Simberi have also dropped by 103,000 ounces to 30.3 million tonnes, while Atlantic Gold has fallen by 138,000 ounces to 51 million tonnes, both of which were driven by mining depletion.

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