St Barbara sets sights on new open pit at Leonora

St Barbara

The Leonora operations. Image: St Barbara

St Barbara has outlined aspirations for a new open pit to be constructed at its Leonora gold operations in Western Australia in the first step of its Leonora Province Plan.

The open pit is contingent on continued encouraging intercepts from its Trevor Bore deposit, where the new mine would be located.

If St Barbara meets its drilling goals at Trevor Bore, development on the open pit would commence in 2023, with hopes for it to be operational in 2024.

The Trevor Bore deposit would provide ore feed to St Barbara’s Gwalia processing plant, located approximately 25 kilometres from Trevor Bore, for at least one year.

It would be St Barbara’s first 100 per cent owned open pit to help fill the mill at Leonora.

St Barbara is implementing a strategy focused on exploration and increased throughput to extend the mine life of Leonora.

“In the coming quarter a work program of infill, geotechnical and metallurgical sample drilling will commence at Tower Hill and Harbour Lights (two deposits at Leonora),” St Barbara stated in its recent quarterly report.

“Work will also continue on the combined pre-feasibility study (PFS) for Tower Hill, Gwalia open-pit cutback and Harbour Lights, which will progress to mine design and scheduling in conjunction with the updated Gwalia underground mining schedule.”

St Barbara expect this PFS to be completed in the June quarter of 2022.

The miner recorded a 15 per cent increase in gold production quarter-on-quarter, with 51,757 ounces mined across the last three months compared to 45,157 ounces from the prior quarter.

Leonora’s production guidance for the 2021-22 financial year is between 180,000 and 200,000 ounces of gold.

Other developments at St Barbara’s Leonora operations include a 9 per cent improvement in daily haulage numbers from approximately 2200 tonnes per day to approximately 2400 tonnes per day, resulting from the increased use of remote equipment operation in truck loading.

St Barbara also had a strong focus on external spend initiatives in the September quarter, which reduced the total material moved mining costs from $160 to $133 per tonne, a decrease of 17 per cent.

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