Bad news comes in threes, or so the saying goes. Mid-tier Australian gold miner St Barbara will certainly hope that superstition rings true and it can now move forward having got its three out of the way.
Bad news comes in threes, or so the saying goes. Mid-tier Australian gold miner St Barbara (ASX:SBM) will certainly hope that superstition rings true and it can now move forward having got its three out of the way. The company capped off a bad few weeks when it announced on Friday that it has been forced into an unscheduled two-week shutdown of its Leonora gold plant in order to replace its main mill motor plinth. The company commented that the plinth's condition had been monitored for some time, and a decision to move the maintenance program forward had been taken to remove the potential for a major failure at a later stage. Several other maintenance programs have also been brought forward to take advantage of the shutdown. The mill supports two mines, Gwalia and King of the Hill, with a combined annual production guidance of between 240,000 and 270,000 ounces for the 2015 fiscal year. The company has stated that while production for the quarter may be negatively impacted, mining will continue during the shutdown; it is anticipated that the shortfall will be made up and thus leave the company's full-year production guidance unchanged. Interestingly, St Barbara's share price actually increased slightly on the news, perhaps illustrating the new-found confidence the market has with the company's new management and renewed focus on its domestic operations. St Barbara has suffered in recent times as a result of yet another merger gone wrong. The company announced two weeks ago that it is in negotiations with the government of the Solomon Islands to transfer full ownership of its Gold Ridge mine to the government; it will effectively walk away from the country and the project.