St. Barbara Ltd. started wet commissioning of the Simberi gold processing plant at in preparation for an “on-schedule” commencement of full processing during January. The company also completed the laying of a deep sea tailings placement pipeline on schedule. With the first gold pour expected during January, Simberi remains on track to meet its FY22 guidance of production between 60,000 and 70,000 ounces (oz) gold.
While the mill was shut down, Simberi has established a 130,000 metric ton oxide ore stockpile on ROM pads and implemented multiple processing plant upgrades. These upgrades include the replacement of cyanide mixing and storage tanks, refurbishment of the rope conveyor, installation of downcomers in the carbon in leach (CIL) circuit to promote slurry mixing, a new lime circuit and several process control enhancements to CIL and thickener circuits. A new mine plan has been developed to deliver oxide material to the mill, with substantial pre stripping work conducted over the last six months.
The Simberi Operations consists of an open-cut mine on the northernmost island in the Tabar group of islands in the province of New Ireland in Papua New Guinea roughly 900 km from Port Moresby. An upcoming sulphide project has the potential to extend the life of mine by at least 10 years.
Simberi produces ore from a number of open pits, which is crushed and transported down a 2.7-km aerial rope conveyor to a stockpile at the processing plant.