Super Pit future secured by major extension

The Super Pit.

The iconic Super Pit mine in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia is set to continue producing gold for at least another 15 years after an expansion of its resource.

Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines (KCGM) completed a review of the future of the Super Pit, discovering a mineral resource of 19 million ounces.

This includes a 2.2 million-ounce resource below the Super Pit, which is the first underground resource in the modern era.

KCGM said this result secures the future of the famous mine, with the potential to extend the 19-million-ounce gold resource further with significant exploration potential in and around the site.

At the current gold prices of $2700 per ounce, this gives the Super Pit’s gold in the ground a market value of $54 billion.

Following this update from KCGM, joint owners Northern Star and Saracen Mineral Holdings have set their 2021 financial year guidances to 940,000 to 1.06 million ounces and 600,000 to 640,000 ounces respectively.

Northern Star’s production is forecast to rise to 1.15 million ounces in the 2022 financial year and 1.25 million ounces in the 2023 financial year, with its total reserves rising by 102 per cent to 5.5 million ounces with the inclusion of KCGM.

“KCGM will play a key role in driving Northern Star’s annual production rate to 1.25 million ounces and beyond over the next few years,” Northern Star executive chair Bill Beament said.

“The review shows the outlook for KCGM is excellent on every level. The project is set to generate strong production growth underpinned by an extensive inventory in a tier-1 location.”

Saracen has also updated its group reserve and group resources accordingly, to 190 million tonnes at 1.4 grams per tonne for 8.6 million ounces and 320 million tonnes at 1.7 grams per tonne for 17 million ounces respectively.

Managing director Raleigh Finlayson said this puts the company on track to continue growing production and expanding its inventory.

“As in the past, our next round of substantial growth will come totally from within Western Australia, ensuring our future-proofing strategy continues to benefit from the certainty which comes from operating solely in a tier-1 location,” Finlayson said.

“We are in a superb position given the strong gold price, our growing production profile (and) our outstanding working relationship with Northern Star Resources at the world-class KCGM project.”

KCGM general manager, operations Kous Kirsten said the results were not just great news for KCGM, Northern Star and Saracen, but also for the township of Kalgoorlie-Boulder and wider Western Australia.

“This is a great day for Kalgoorlie and all the workers and businesses which depend on KCGM for their livelihoods,” Kirsten said.

“The review shows that after 125 years of mining, Kalgoorlie’s world-renowned Golden Mile and the Super Pit project it houses are still world-class.”

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