Northern Star sails past Covid issues

8th July 2020 By: Esmarie Iannucci - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor: Australasia

PERTH ( – Despite the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, gold miner Northern Star has reported that its cash, bullion and investments increased by 40% at the end of June, compared with the previous quarter.

Cash, bullion and investments increased to A$769.5-million, up from the A$551.4-million at the end of March, while the company also generated free cash flows of A$217.9-million in the June quarter from the sale of 262 717 oz of gold.

Total gold sales for the 2020 financial year reached 900 388 oz, while gold production reached 905 177 oz.

“To generate quarterly free cash flow of A$217.9-million in these circumstances is an outstanding result which reflects the performance of our staff and business partners, our success in being able to operate continuously throughout the pandemic and the underlying strength of our assets,” said executive chairperson Bill Beament.

“The results at our Pogo mine, in Alaska, were particularly pleasing given the challenging circumstances emanating from Covid-19, where we effectively managed safe operations with 36 confirmed cases through the quarter.

“Despite the considerable impacts of Covid-19 at Pogo, the underlying trend of rising production and productivity continued. This further demonstrates the huge potential of this asset in more conventional circumstances.”

Meanwhile, during the June quarter, Northern Star reduced its hedge book to 536 426 oz at A$2 085/oz, as part of its strategy to increase exposure to the spot price. Pushed-out hedged positions are being brought back and deliveries will continue to accelerate in 2021, the miner told shareholders.

Northern Star has one of the smaller hedge books as a percentage of annual production, with just 15% of production over the next three years committed.

Furthermore, the company also repaid A$200-million in debt which was drawn down in the March quarter as part of its Covid-19 measures, and has announced a fully-franked interim dividend of 7.5c a share. This dividend was postponed earlier this year, owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.