PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Gold miner Northern Star Resources has unveiled a A$60-million exploration budget for 2019, in a bid to convert some of its 15.9-million-ounce resource to reserves.
The miner on Thursday said that the strategy for 2019 is designed to lay the foundations for the next round of growth in both production and mine life.
“Three years ago, we initiated an organic growth strategy based on extensive exploration campaigns around our tier-one assets. This strategy culminated in mine life visibility of plus ten years and an annual production rate of more than 600 000 oz,” said Northern Star chairperson Bill Beament.
“It also enabled us to not only grow our total resource and reserve year in, year out, but also grow them on a per-share basis. This, in turn, helped us maintain some of the highest financial returns on the ASX, while achieving substantial growth in our inventory and production.”
Beament said that Northern Star is now returning to the start of that highly successful process, with the aim of converting a substantial portion of the resource to reserves.
“This will enable us to grow production further, capitalizing on our strong margins to grow free cash flow and our overall financial returns.”
Beament noted that the size and scale of the company’s mineralised systems meant that it will, in some cases, be several years before the benefits of the exploration work was reflected in the resource and reserve figures.
However, he noted that the foundations had been laid for substantial increases in reserves next year, with the growth in the measured and indicated resources over the past year, which increased by 55%, to 9.8-million ounces.
Northern Star has reported a 34% increase in the resource at the Jundee operation, which now stands at 4.3-million ounces, while a maiden openpit reserve of 74 000 oz, at 1.7 g/t, was established at the newly discovered Ramone deposit, at Jundee.
Resource estimates at the Kalgoorlie operations are up by 10%, to 4.9-million ounces, excluding the South Kalgoorlie operations, which added an additional 3.7-million ounces, at 2.1 g/t gold.