Australia’s Northern Star puts Plutonic gold mine on the market

Australia’s third-biggest gold producer Northern Star Resources (ASX:NST) has put its Plutonic mine on the market after receiving unsolicited approaches from unnamed parties interested in the West Australian project.

Northern Star acquired the underground operation a bit over two years ago in a $25 million deal with Canada’s Barrick Gold (TSX, NYSE: ABX). To date, Plutonic is the highest-cost of the company's five mines, producing around 79,000 ounces last financial year at an all-in sustaining cost of $1550 an ounce.

The miner said a sale, a process being conducted by PCF Capital Group, would only proceed if it received an offer that "would deliver a superior commercial outcome for the company and its shareholders".

Plutonic is the highest-cost of Northern Star's five mines, producing around 79,000 ounces last financial year at an all-in sustaining cost of $1550 an ounce.

According to Northern Star managing director, Bill Beament, a "buoyant" Australian-dollar gold price had resulted in strong demand for projects, and it would be "remiss" of the company not to consider whether selling Plutonic would be in the best interests of shareholders.

Gold climbed slightly on Wednesday ahead of minutes of the US Federal Reserve's latest meeting, snapping three days of losses, as expectations that interest rates will stay lower for longer sharpened appetite for the metal.

Spot gold was at $1,210.57 an ounce at 1445 GMT, up 0.9%, while US gold futures for April delivery were up 0.2 percent at $1,210.80.

Gold peaked at $1,260.60 an ounce last week and has rallied nearly 14 percent since the start of the year.

Shares in Northern Star climbed eight cents, or 2.21%, to $3.70 in Sydney at the close.