Northern Star closes iconic Super Pit gold mine acquisition

The Super Pit was Australia’s largest open cut gold mine until 2016, when it was surpassed by Newmont’s Boddington gold mine, also in Western Australia. (Image by Neelaka | Wikimedia Commons.)

Australian gold miner Northern Star Resources (ASX: NST) has completed the acquisition of US giant Newmont Goldcorp’s 50% stake in Western Australia’s iconic Super Pit mine for $775 million.

The deal further increases the size of the ASX-listed gold sector, which has expanded over the past 18 months as local companies like Newcrest, St Barbara, Evolution Mining, Resolute Gold, Saracen and Northern Star itself have grabbed assets from sellers not listed in Sydney.

Deal further increases the size of the ASX-listed gold sector, which has significantly expanded over the past 18 months

Northern Star was long rumoured to be after a stake in the Super Pit, with reports pointing at the company as the frontrunner for Barrick Gold’s 50% interest in its massive gold mine. That stake was snatched up by fellow Australian miner Saracen Mineral Holdings in November for $750 million.

Rather than buying Newmont’s half of the company that directly owns the Super Pit, Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines (KGCM), Northern Star bought Newmont’s Australian subsidiary, which held the stake in KGCM.

The mine currently has an estimated reserve of 7.3 million ounces and has produced on average 660,000 ounces a year at an all-in sustaining cost of around A$1,100 per ounce over the last five years.

However, the operation has gone from being a low-cost one to the higher end of the cost curve, mostly due to a partial collapse on the eastern wall of the mine in 2018. Additionally, the asset is expected to run out of ore by 2029 and when that happens, rehabilitation costs are forecast to run into hundreds of millions of dollars.