PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Gold miner St Barbara has set a production target of between 25 000 oz and 30 000 oz for its Simberi operations, in Papua New Guinea, for 2022, saying the Covid-19 outbreak at the site is now under control.
The ASX-listed St Barbara in February withdrew its production guidance for the operation, saying the infection rates across the Tabar Island group had increased significantly, impacting the local communities and the Simberi workforce.
This exacerbated the difficulties in ramping up operations after six months in care and maintenance.
At its peak the outbreak caused 270 people at the Simberi operation to be in isolation of its circa 600 regular daily workforce. Currently there are 12 employees in isolation and the outbreak is considered to be under control.
“A combination of limited operators and maintainers during the outbreak resulted in low truck availability reducing the amount of material mined and hauled, with production for the third quarter now expected to be some 11 000 oz. The face positions in the pits are significantly behind schedule leading to reduced oxide ore being available in the fourth quarter,” the miner said in a statement on Monday.
“Notwithstanding the restoration of national workforce numbers, the company has determined that ramp-up rates will be slower than previously anticipated. The ongoing difficulties with securing expatriate maintenance specialists and operations management is expected to impact the fourth quarter of 2022 and the new guidance range reflects that assessment.”
All-in sustaining costs at Simberi for 2022 are expected to reach between A$3 200/oz and A$3 600/oz, with St Barbara predicting group production to reach between 275 000 oz and 290 000 oz, at all-in sustaining costs of between A$1 750/oz and A$1 870/oz.