ST Barbara, the operator of the Simberi gold mine in New Ireland in Papua New Guinea, has undertaken successful cost reduction programmes – in light of the slumping metal prices – to remain cost-efficient.
Company secretary Rowan Cole said in an email from Melbourne to The National that for the 2015 financial year, “St Barbara undertook a successful cost-reduction programme across all aspects of the company, achieving annualised savings of around A$18 million (K38 million) per annum”.
“This, combined with increased production at Simberi, resulted in one of the lowest cost profiles of any Papua New Guinea gold mine,” Cole said.
“Simberi generated A$12 million (K25.5 million) cash contribution in Q1 Sep 2015 in sustaining cost of A$1252 (K2663) per ounce.
“In addition, Simberi production is matched with gold forward contracts at A$1600 (K3404) per ounce to June 2016.”
He said the guidance for the 2016 financial year was to produce 90,000 to 110,000 ounces at between A$1275 (K2712) and A$1400 (K2978) per ounce, relative to Q1 September 2015, when Simberi produced 29,539 ounces at A$1252 per ounce.
He said there was confidence that Simberi gold mine would improve further.
“A number of initiatives are underway to increase the overall percentage of ore being delivered through the lower cost ore delivery system with the potential to reduce unit costs,” Cole said.
“A major shutdown of the plant was undertaken during the September 2015 quarter with significant changes made to the mill and trommel, which are expected to further increase throughput and reduce operating costs.
“A pre-feasibility study on methods to process sulphide ore (which is present under the oxide ore currently being mined, and is currently estimated to contain 1.3 million ounces of gold in ore reserves) is underway with developments to be announced during the year.”