Uncertain future for Simberi mine


St Barbara weighs its options at Simberi

Esmarie Swanepoel | Mining Weekly

Gold miner St Barbara has launched a strategic review of its Simberi operations, in Papua New Guinea, which would evaluate “various options” for the assets, including continued ownership, exploration and development, possible joint ventures and divestment of some or all of its assets in the country.

St Barbara this week pointed out that the Simberi operation produced 107 553 oz of gold during the 2015 calendar year, with production for 2016 forecast at between 100 000 oz and 110 000 oz.

The ASX-listed company was currently conducting a prefeasibility study into a sulphide project at Simberi, which could extend the existing oxide mine life by about three years by producing an additional one-million ounces of gold-in-concentrate over a further seven-year period.

The proposed sulphide project would use the existing infrastructure at Simberi, but would require a capital investment of about $100-million, with funds partly going towards a new mining fleet.

The prefeasibility study was due for completion in April.

To avoid any interruption in production, St Barbara was expected to make a decision on the sulphide project later this year.

The company, meanwhile, reported a statutory profit after tax of A$77-million for the half-year ended December, which was significantly up from the statutory loss of A$19.8-million reported in the previous corresponding period.

Revenue for the interim period was up from the A$236.5-million reported in the six months to December 2014, to A$311.6-million, as total production for the same period increased from 166 741 oz to 202 951 oz of gold.

Gold sales also increased from the 166 960 oz sold in the previous corresponding period, to 198 826 oz.

Consolidated all-in sustaining costs for the period declined from A$1 166/oz to A$922/oz, reflecting the benefits of strong gold production at the Gwalia mine, as well as improved performance from Simberi.


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Filed under Financial returns, Papua New Guinea

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