Value proposition for St Barbara lies in Canada, PNG development projects

31st October 2023 By: Mariaan Webb - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

Value proposition for St Barbara lies in Canada, PNG development projects

The Simberi operation in Papua New Guinea

Gold miner St Barbara has made rapid progress advancing its Canada and Papua New Guinea development projects to a point where development decisions can be made in 2024, CEO and MD Andrew Strelein reported on Tuesday.

He said the company would progress the 15-Mile project, in Canada’s Nova Scotia, and the Simberi Expansion, in Papua New Guinea, to decision points by the end of the financial year in June.

“The strategic value proposition for St Barbara now lies in demonstration of the development potential of the projects in Nova Scotia and the Simberi expansion. At 5.9-million ounces, the mineral endowment is incredible for a company of our size,” said Strelein.

The company, which earlier this year sold its Leonora assets to Genesis Minerals, has earmarked between A$10-million and A$13-million for its Simberi growth strategy, as well as a capital investment of A$8-million, potentially expanding to up to A$15-million, for the Atlantic growth strategy.

St Barbara recently announced strong prefeasibility study results for the 15-Mile project, which will produce between 55 000 oz/y and 60 000 oz/y at an all-in sustaining cost of $992/oz. Capital costs of A$207-million, or C$182-million, have been estimated.

At Simberi, resource definition drilling is under way, with two drill rigs on the island. The programme is targeting the conversion of inferred resources outside the current ore reserve pit designs, with the intention to add additional ore reserves to the Simberi expansion project.

Meanwhile, during the first quarter of the 2024 financial year, Simberi produced 10 379 oz, which was lower than the recent quarters owing to lower grade and lower recovery arising from higher sulphur to gold ratios in the ore feed mix. Tonnes processed were also lower with two plant shutdowns in the first quarter.

Simberi produced at an AISC of A$4 538/oz in the September quarter.

At the Atlantic operations, in Nova Scotia, Atlantic produced 6 480 oz in the quarter, with processing of low-grade stockpiles at Touquoy ceasing on September 20. The operation is being closed and the processing plant is being transitioned to care and maintenance.

AISC was A$2 994/oz in the quarter.

Following the sale of the Leonora assets, St Barbara has slimmed down its head office, with only 15 staff now remaining.

“St Barbara now has a small, nimble leadership team focused on bringing the development projects to decision points as rapidly as possible,” said Strelein.