The sky’s the limit for Northern Star

Gold miner Northern Star Resources (ASX:NST) is looking at a small rise in 2022-23 gold production from its mines in Australia and Alaska after wrapping up what seems to have been a successful 2021-22.

The Company said in its June quarter and financial year production and sales report on Wednesday that it “is well positioned” to deliver guidance of 1,560,000 – 1,680,000 ounces of gold in the just started financial year, at an All In Sustaining Cost (AISC) of $A1,630-$A1,690 an oz.

That is only up a fraction from the 1.561 million ounces sold in the year to June 30 at an AISC of $A1,633 an ounce (guidance was $A1,550-$A1,640 an ounce).

“Gold sold is expected to be weighted towards second half of the (2022-23) year as a result of the scheduled ramp up of the Thunderbox mill expansion,” Northern Star said in the report to the ASX.

Northern Star said its financial position remains strong, with net cash of $A528 million at June 30.

The shares rose 2% to $6.90 yesterday.

“The Company’s FY23 growth program is fully funded and aligns with our capital management framework of allocating capital to those projects that deliver superior returns,” directors said in the report.

Northern Star said its planned capital expenditure (covering sustaining, growth, exploration) for 2022-23 is forecast to be at similar levels to 2022 at around a total of $A725 million.

The Company said it “is closely managing its costs in this inflationary environment and will continue to adopt an agile and prudent approach to portfolio optimisation and capital growth expenditure.

For the June quarter, gold sold totalled 402,000 ounces at an AISC of A$1,650/oz as all three production centres (Kalgoorlie, Yandal and Pogo in Alaska) operated at combined production rate of 1.6 million ounces a year.

“Australian Operations delivered FY22 production and cost guidance; Pogo delivered above 2H expectations with annual run rate of 250,000 ounces a year,” the company said.

Northern Star said it delivered in the first year of its five-year plan to get to annual production of 2 million ounces by 2026.

CEO Stuart Tonkin said the strong fourth-quarter performance showcased the quality of the company’s assets to adapt to all environments.

He said, “We have maintained reliable operations over the past year and protected the health and wellbeing of our team,” he said.

“The first full year of operating as the enlarged Northern Star has provided us a true understanding of the opportunities and requirements of our assets, particularly in this inflationary environment, and resulted in us increasing our FY23 capital budget.

“Our responsible approach to growth means we will be disciplined in how and when we spend the budget, at all times focused on maximising returns.”