Northern Star boss sees gold ‘kicking again’

Northern Star Resources executive chairman Bill Beament says he has never been more optimistic on the price of gold in his career (reports The West Australian).
16th October 2020
Resources Rising Stars

Northern Star Resources executive chairman Bill Beament says he has never been more optimistic on the price of gold in his career (reports The West Australian).

Speaking to reporters after presenting at the annual Diggers and Dealers Mining Forum in Kalgoorlie, Mr Beament said with the amount of stimulus spending by governments and central banks around the world amid the coronavirus pandemic, he couldn’t be anything but positive on the precious metal.

“And we haven’t even hit the financial crisis yet, everyone is still doing the health crisis,” he said.

“Wait until we come out the back end and have the financial crisis - it’s going to hit.

“When the taps all get turned off, and they have to get turned off, that’s when you’ll see gold kick again.”

In August, the gold price hit a record $US2075/oz ($2873/oz) on the back of heavy stimulus spending by governments, bond buying by central banks, record low interest rates stoking fears of inflation and heightened geopolitical tensions amid the pandemic.

Mr Beament presented to delegates jointly with chief executive Stuart Tonkin and Raleigh Finlayson, the managing director of Kalgoorlie Super Pit partner Saracen Mineral Holdings.

The presentation comes a week after Northern Star and Saracen announced a $16b, nil-premium merger.

Mr Beament also backed Premier Mark McGowan’s hard border policy despite admitting the companies were likely to experience pressure to fill roles associated with a ramp-up of operations at the Super Pit including a proposed $600m expansion of the asset that would create 700 new direct and indirect jobs.

Both Mr Beament and Mr Finlayson agreed the costs of a coronavirus outbreak locking down the State and shutting down minesites would be greater than the inconveniences experienced by WA’s harder border closure.

Mr Beament said the companies would work with local communities and the State Government on strategies to solve the looming skills shortage.

“KCGM has got a residential-only (worker) policy and we don’t see that changing, it’s our job to try to attract people here and train people up,” he said.

The WA Chamber of Minerals and Energy revealed in August the State’s resources sector would need more than 8000 extra workers in the next 12-18 months.

Mr Finlayson said he didn’t believe there would be a shortage of workers for entry-level roles, but there could be a crunch for experienced staff such as dozer or shovel operators.

Asked whether he believed the nation’s gold sector was ripe for consolidation in the wake of the recent Northern Star/Saracen deal, Mr Beament said the deal was a “no-brainer” and there were others players in the industry that should merge.

“There’s probably a few too many management teams across assets,” he said.

“It’s pretty hard to get high quality management teams, they’re not sitting on the shelf and the industry is growing.

“A bit of consolidation will help that, as long as it’s done for the right reasons and not about getting bigger for the sake of getting bigger.”


Image: The Australian 

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