St Barbara Limited announced an update on the March quarter production at Leonora, and implications for FY23 guidance. Leonora produced 30,942koz of gold for the March quarter of FY23 and 97,195koz of gold for the financial year to date. Gold production at Leonora was impacted by suboptimal blasting of three key stopes in the quarter.
Recovery of affected stopes, each containing between 8kt and 36kt of ore, required significant rework which reduced mining rates from these stopes and has slowed down the overall mining sequence. As a result, some ore that had been expected to be mined in March has been delayed into the June quarter, which then cascades some ore from the June quarter into FY24.
Over the course of FY23 the performance of the resource model has been down compared to previous years, with the model performing on average ~10% below reconciled production. The underperformance relates to a higher proportion of stopes in the current sequence being mined on the edges of the South-West Branch lode.
As a result of the lower than anticipated mining rates and resource model underperformance on the edges of the South-West Branch lode, St Barbara hereby updates Leonora’s production guidance for FY23 to between 130koz and 135koz.
St Barbara’s group production guidance has been adjusted to incorporate the Leonora guidance update. The Company also retracts the cost guidance for Leonora and the Group until it can be updated with the release of the March Quarterly Report, following the finalisation of monthly financial accounts. Simberi and Atlantic guidance remains unchanged.
Improved production results are expected at Leonora with increased stoping tonnes anticipated early in FY24. During the March quarter, the opportunity was taken to accelerate mine development, improving the number of headings providing access to ore.
Importantly, the margin over ounces mine plan anticipated by Hoover House for FY24 and onwards will focus mining on the core of the South-West Branch lode where grades are significantly higher and more consistent than the edges, and the plan will be underpinned by a new Resource model jointly developed by St Barbara and Genesis.
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