PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Gold miner St Barbara widened its loss from A$160.8-million to A$429.1-million during the 2023 financial year.
The miner said that the loss included a non-cash after tax impairment of A$298-million for the Atlantic operations, and A$74-million for the Simberi operations during the half-year, as well as a further non-cash impairment after tax of A$78-million at Atlantic for the period ending June.
St Barbara noted that while the Simberi operation returned a gross profit in the 2023 financial year, the decline in the underlying loss compared with the previous financial period was largely driven by lower operating profits from the Atlantic and Leonora operations as a result of lower production at both, along with higher mine operating costs.
“Underlying FY23 financial performance reflects the company’s inability to achieve the level of improvement in underground ore extraction rates required to offset Gwalia’s declining mine grade while the headline loss was driven by impairment charges against the Atlantic and Simberi assets referred to in previous announcements at half-year and in the June quarterly report,” said St Barbara MD and CEO Andrew Strelein.
“We ended the year with the sale of the Leonora assets resulting in a strong financial position and a smaller corporate team to focus on delivering value from the Atlantic and Simberi assets.”
The Leonora assets contributed 138 050 oz of gold during the period under review, down from the 191 459 oz of gold produced in the 2022 financial year, owing to lower grades and mined tonnes sent to the mill.
The asset sale of the Leonora operation to fellow-listed Genesis Minerals was completed at the end of June, resulting in a pre-tax A$86.73-million profit on sale.
Meanwhile, gold production at Simberi increased from 28 136 oz to 78 320 oz during the financial year, owing to a temporary break in operations in the 2022 financial year. Mined grade in the 2023 financial year was lower than the previous period as a result of the mine plan moving into lower grade areas.
During the 2023 financial year, the Atlantic operation delivered 43 998 oz of gold, which was down from the 61 179 oz produced in the previous financial year. In-pit mining ceased in February, at which time the operation commenced processing historic stockpiles.
Additionally, production was impacted by lower processed grade from the material available in the stockpiles.
Atlantic Operations announced in July this year that owing to the inability to obtain permits for in-pit tailings deposition within a reasonable time, the Touquoy operation will move to care and maintenance by the end of September 2023.
Group gold production in the 2023 financial year amounted to 260 368 oz, down from 280 746 oz in the previous financial year, while gold sales declined from 276 412 oz to 259 416 oz, and consolidated all-in sustaining costs increased from A$1 848/oz to A$2 443/oz.
For the year ended June, St Barbara reported revenues of A$697-million, up from the A$680-million reported last year, while earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation declined from A$197-million to A$114-million.