- St Barbara (SBM) more than halves gold production target for its pandemic-hit Simberi operations in Papua New Guinea as COVID-19 cases decline
- Last month, the company withdrew its production guidelines from Simberi due to the significant increase in COVID-19 infections in the Tabar group of islands.
- St Barbara now expects to produce between 25,000 and 30,000 ounces of gold in FY22 on the project, down from the original estimate of 60,000 to 70,000 ounces
- Currently, 12 mine workers are in isolation and the company says the outbreak is considered under control.
- SBM shares down 3.29% at $1.47
Gold miner St Barbara (SBM) has more than halved the gold production target at its Simberi mine in Papua New Guinea after operations were hit by a COVID-19 outbreak.
The company said the infection rate was now considered under control and it expected to produce between 25,000 and 30,000 ounces of gold in FY22 at the project, down from last year. initial estimate of 60,000 to 70,000 ounces.
St Barbara last month withdrew its Simberi production guidelines due to the significant rise in COVID-19 cases through the Tabar group of islands. At its peak, the outbreak saw 270 unaccompanied miners out of a regular daily workforce of around 600.
The company said there are currently 12 isolated employees.
“A combination of limited operators and maintainers during the outbreak resulted in low truck availability, reducing the amount of material mined and hauled, with production for the third quarter now expected to be approximately 11,000 ounces,” said Saint Barbara.
“The front position in the pits is significantly behind schedule, reducing oxide ore availability in the fourth quarter.”
Simberi was only beginning to ramp up production operations after a restart in early 2022.
SBM shares ended the day’s trading session down 3.29% at $1.47.