Feed study for Simberi sulphide project nearly complete


THE front end engineering and design (Feed) study for the Simberi sulphide project in New Ireland is nearing completion.
According to St Barbara Simberi’s March quarter report, significant increases in equipment and construction costs were being experienced across the industry and these trends were also evident in various components of the Feed study.
“St Barbara has been notified of the replacement of the PNG environment minister which has seen delays in the issuance of permits that were expected for the project,” it said.
“As a consequence, the final investment decision will be delayed until Conservation and Environmental Protection Authority (Cepa) has confirmed the grant of the conditional environmental permit for commencement of the sulphide project.
“In the interim, St Barbara will continue to work on optimising various aspects of the near-complete Feed study, such as working on opportunities to reduce capital cost escalation.”
Meanwhile, group gold production for the March quarter was six per cent lower than the prior quarter.
“The ramp up of production at Simberi, following the successful installation of the deep sea tailings placement pipeline early in the quarter, was impacted by the escalation of Coronavirus (Covid-19) cases at the site,” the report said.
“With the outbreak under control in the latter part of the quarter, St Barbara reinstated updated production guidance for the 2022 financial year, which had been withdrawn earlier.
The surge in Covid-19 cases “impacted maintenance personnel in particular, the net result of which is a backlog of mobile fleet maintenance activity that is likely to impact production in the near term”, the report said.