SIMBERI gold mine in New Ireland produced 13,291 ounces of gold in the fourth quarter of last year at a cash operating cost of US$1,253 per ounce, according to the company’s quarterly report released yesterday.
Simberi is a significant, long-term development project , which is poised to increase production to approximately 75,000oz of gold in the financial year to June 2013.
The mine was developed by Allied Gold Mining PLC between 2004 and 2012, when it was acquired by St Barbara Ltd.
An expansion project is underway to further lift production to an estimated 100,000oz of gold per annum.
The December 2012 quarterly report said the operation experienced some unexpected downtime in the mill and this led to a reduced throughput for the quarter.
“Recoveries increased from 83% to 89% and, as the processing plant reliability improves, gold production is expected to improve in line with the second-half guidance.
“The ore milled reduced from 464,000 tonnes to 432,000 tonnes for the quarter.
“Two new leach tanks were commissioned in December and will be fully operational and in use from this month.
“The grade of ore milled remained unchanged for the quarter at 1.1 grammes per tonne (g/t) gold.
“Improved mine planning and more efficient mining operations resulted in an increase in ore mined from 504,000 tonnes to 592,000 tonnes for the quarter.
“The delivery of additional trucking and excavator capacity to the operation next month will see these volumes increase further to meet the increased milling capacity once the oxide project is commissioned.”
The report said expansion was being achieved through the installation of a new semi-autogenous grinding (SAG) mill, two new leach tanks, additional elution circuit and improved tailings treatment facilities.
“All of the major components are now on site and erection of steel work is progressing satisfactorily,” it said.
“Final civil works are near complete.”