By GEDION TIMOTHY
ST Barbara’s Simberi gold mine in New Ireland has seen continued improvement this year, justifying the company’s decision to preserve with what was an under-performing asset in 2014, says chairman Tim Netscher.
Netscher told the company’s annual general meeting in Melbourne, Australia that Simberi “is now demonstrably confirmed as a reliable earner of cash, exceeding its target production rate of 100,000 ounces per annum for six consecutive quarters”.
“With the sensible use of hedging, we have ensured that Simberi will stay cash-positive regardless of gold price conditions for the remainder of this financial year,” Netscher said.
“During the year, we determined that we should conduct a strategic review of our PNG assets, considering the commercial opportunities available from divestment or joint venture or retaining both the operating and extensive exploration assets of Simberi.
“This review has been completed and we announced the results earlier this month.
“The results are:
- That we will retain Simberi as an operating asset, and all gold oxide and sulphide exploration opportunities in the Tabar Island group;
- That we will joint-venture with Newcrest the exploration of copper-gold porphyry prospects on Tatau and Tabar Islands;
- That we will not, based on the existing reserves, resources and feasibility study, invest in sulphide mining and processing on Simberi at this time but will continue with studies of opportunities to improve the economics of this project.
Simberi is the northern most island in the Tabar group of islands in New Ireland.