St Barbara builds foundation for Gwalia future

st barbara

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

St Barbara has targeted an improvement of milling rates at the Gwalia mine in Western Australia to prepare the mine for a stronger performance.

The company ramped up the milling rates to a nameplate capacity of 1.2 million tonnes per annum.

It has also advanced development metres to 400 to ensure strong results in the future.

At the Atlantic gold operation in Nova Scotia, Canada, St Barbara also milled a record 255,000 tonnes for an increase of 9 per cent on the 2020 financial year average.

Jetson said such results were exactly as St Barbara had hoped following the implementation of its new strategy, reiterating the importance of the second phase of Building Brilliance.

“Many of the production related improvements were realised in the latter part of the March quarter, including a record milling month and improved gold recovery at Atlantic, and ‘filling the mill’ at Leonora,” St Barbara managing director and chief executive Craig Jetson said.

“Uplift two – the execution of our brownfield expansion projects – is unlocking value in our business as we utilise our deep resource knowledge and execute to plan.

“At Gwalia, new areas in our mining lease and current footprint have been identified for inclusion in overall mineral resources.”

The Building Brilliance program has been an underlying theme at St Barbara since it was unveiled late in the first quarter of the 2021 financial year.

The program’s first 18-month phase, “Uplift one”, involves increasing operational safety and efficiencies while empowering employees.

Jetson said it was pleasing to see the program taking shape.

“The third quarter of the financial year saw the results of Building Brilliance start to be realised across our business. This is the first of three uplifts that form our company strategy, and it is pleasing to see strong foundations now established,” he said.

“The business performance during the month of March, across all three operations, reflects this positive improvement.

“Since Building Brilliance was launched in September 2020, it has delivered significant operational efficiencies and cost reductions.”

Consolidated gold production across the company for the March quarter was just over 82,000 ounces, with more than half of that produced at the Gwalia gold mine.

St Barbara also stated in its March quarterly report that truck reliability and availability at the Simberi gold project in Papua New Guinea was highest in March for the 2021 financial year, allowing for increased fleet productivity.

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