St Barbara Limited, an Australian-based gold producer and explorer, had its Simberi Operations in Papua New Guinea (PNG) disrupted by an illegal work stoppage initiated by a contingent of the workforce.

Citing safety reasons, St Barbara halted production at Simberi last week, while site management attempted to understand and resolve the stoppage. Approximately 40% of the workforce remained at work during the stoppage.

Site management has engaged with workers and community leaders. Despite discussions with representatives seeking to address the stoppage, there had been no progress towards a resolution. To breach the impasse, site management informed the workforce that as the work stoppage was not in accordance with PNG law, any employees who did not present for work by 12 March 2018, could have their employment terminated.

Since then, some progress has been made in negotiations. The possible termination of employees who did not present for work has been deferred, pending the anticipated arrival of representatives from the PNG Department of Labour and Industrial Relations. It has been agreed for a mediation to be led by the Department seeking to address the remaining concerns behind the stoppage. It is anticipated that the mediation will occur this week.

Until suspension of operations on Wednesday 7 March 2018, the mine had produced 93,000 ounces of gold this financial year, and it is expected that the mine will achieve full year production guidance of between 115,000 and 125,000 ounces of gold.


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