St Barbara steady as Gwalia offsets Simberi

st barbara

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

St Barbara has hit five-year highs for ore milled at the Gwalia gold mine in Western Australia as operations at the historic site benefitted from a debottlenecking program.

Gwalia’s mill throughput was 281,000 tonnes for the June quarter, while mined ore increased by 16 per cent on the March quarter to 195,000 tonnes.

The June quarter was the strongest of the financial year, despite challenges involved with a change in mining contractor.

St Barbara managing director and chief executive officer Craig Jetson said the company did well considering a range of variables.

“All our operations rose to the challenge posed by the second year of the global COVID-19 pandemic and a difficult operating environment with rolling border closures causing additional challenges” Jetson said.

The company produced 82,698 ounces of gold for the June quarter, while the Simberi gold mine in PNG remained shut for around half of that time.

Simberi has been shut down since May 21 following the on-site death of one of its workers, while a separate incident involving a failure of its deep-sea tailings placement (DSTP) pipeline also hampered proceedings.

“Mining at Simberi has been granted conditional approval to recommence and will ramp up over the weeks ahead,” St Barbara stated.

“The processing facility is expected to be brought back into production by the end of (the  December quarter).”

Total gold produced for the 2021 financial year was 328,000 ounces, with an all-in sustaining cost (AISC) of $1616 per ounce of gold.

This figure was more than $600 below the year’s average gold price.

St Barbara also announced the Leonora Province Plan in June, which looks to add around 1.4 million ounces to the Leonora operation’s five million ounces of gold mineral resource.

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