a mound of gold close-up

Gold Mining Journal Award Winners 2017

The stellar year enjoyed by Northern Star Resources Ltd and West African Resources Ltd has been recognised by industry peers with the companies receiving Gold Mining Journal’s Miner and Explorer of the Year titles respectively for 2017.

The awards, voted on by resource industry insiders, are fitting recognition for each company’s ability to provide exceptional performances in what has been a strong year all-round for the Australian gold sector. Northern Star’s rise from single asset junior to $3.5 billion mid-tier gold miner has been well documented but in 2017 it was the company’s consistent performance which most stood out. Northern Star produced 515,000oz at AISC of $1,013/oz across its West Australian portfolio in FY2017, meeting guidance and allowing the company to generate net
after tax profit of $215.3 million, a 43% return on equity and a 30% return on invested capital.  The first quarter of FY2018 followed suit with the company selling 138,459oz of gold in the September period.

The future is looking just as bright. Northern Star has increased reserves by 292% to 3.5 moz gold and resources by 136% to 10.2 moz gold, pushing the mine life at both its Jundee and Kalgoorlie operations out to 10 years. The company is also planning to spend $65 million to expand its production capacity in 2018, allowing it to produce
600,000oz of gold. On being awarded Gold Mining Journal’s Miner of the Year title for the third time,
Beament said peer recognition was something to be particularly proud of. “To be recognised by your peers is probably more important than receiving something from a panel of judges,” he said. “We are competing for investment dollars and people with these companies so it is a fantastic achievement for the team
and is testament to their ability to continue to deliver.” West African Resources became a first time winner of the Explorer of the Year title thanks to its rapid delineation of high-grade gold resources in the West African
nation of Burkina Faso. It has taken the company less than two years to define a 750,000oz gold resource
grading an incredible 14.4 g/t gold at its Sanbrado gold project. There is little to suggest the company’s work is done with recent hits of 13.5m @ 18.21 g/t and 2.5 @ 43.97 g/t likely to be plugged into a further resource update
scheduled for February.

For Hyde, the Explorer of the Year award speaks volumes about the commitment his company and its shareholders have shown. West African’s share price has risen from 18c in March to more than 40c prior to Christmas, rewarding loyal shareholders. “We undertook a couple of very difficult capital raisings in 2013-2015 to keep the company going and came through that period with a real prospect and a plan to capitalise on it; which we have done,” he said. Hyde said West African would remain focused on delivering value for shareholders.

“It is about value creation at the drill bit. As long as you stay focused on that, the market will always come back to you.” Gold Mining Journal editor, Dominic Piper, said the awards highlighted the outstanding achievements of the two companies in what has been an exceptional year for the gold sector. “With gold miners producing strong profits and a new generation of exploration success stories emerging, voting for the 2017 awards was incredibly tight,” Piper
said. “However, both Northern Star and West African Gold Road have elevated themselves with remarkable performances.

“These two companies have delivered for shareholders throughout 2017 while also setting themselves up for growth and development in 2018. That each can also boast a loyal, highly committed and productive workforce is also testament to the cultures they have each built.”

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