St Barbara gold production boosted with Gwalia mine ramp up

The Gwalia mine is three kilometres south of the town of Leonora, Western Australia. Image: St Barbara

St Barbara has produced more than 100,000 ounces of gold in the June quarter, the first time it has achieved this milestone since mid-2018.

It produced 108,612 ounces, a jump on 91,547 ounces produced in the previous quarter.

St Barbara also met its production guidance of 370,000–400,000 ounces for the 2020 financial year with 381,887 ounces.

The company reported improved performance at the Gwalia mine in Western Australia, which contributed 171,156 ounces for the 2020 financial year.

Gwalia’s mill throughput for the quarter was the highest since 2014, with 244,000 tonnes of ore milled at an average grade of 6.8 grams per tonne of gold.

This is attributed to the implementation of process improvements following an operational review with external consultants. St Barbara prioritised the ore mined over the completion of the final raise bore ventilation shift during the quarter.

This shaft is currently at 473 metres, and is due for completion by the end of this month.

St Barbara managing director and chief executive Craig Jetson said the June quarter production reflected St Barbara’s focus on Gwalia’s production profile.

“The quarter indicates the potential of the company, with quarterly production of over 100,000 ounces for the first time in two years and Gwalia achieving its highest mill throughput since 2014.”

The results also reflected positive impacts for St barabara from the company’s Atlantic Gold operations in Canada and the opportunity that remained at the Simberi operations in Papua New Guinea.

St Barbara produced 104,068 ounces of gold at Simberi for the 2020 financial year, which is short of its production guidance of 105,000–115,000 ounces. This was affected by the availability of its rope conveyor, with the replacement of a 250-metre section of belt taking place during the quarter.

However, the operation exceeded its anticipated grade due to higher grade zones mined in Botlu and Sorowar central pits.

“We are working hard to deliver on our current assets as we review our business and operating model to ensure an exciting future for St Barbara,” Jetson said. “2020 marks a new era in the evolution of St Barbara.”

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