Saracen Minerals boss Raleigh Finlayson believes the local miner’s purchase of a 50 per cent stake in Kalgoorlie-Boulder’s famous Super Pit is a shot in the arm for its US-based joint venture partner.

Mr Finlayson, who grew up in the Goldfields and has worked his way up the corporate ladder at Saracen over the past 11 years, did a stint at the Super Pit while a student at the WA School of Mines.

A week after sealing the $1.1 billion deal to secure half of the mine, Mr Finlayson said he felt his insight coupled with that of his team gave him confidence Saracen would unlock the full potential of the mine.

“I was there for the better part of three-and-a-half years so got pretty well embedded into the organisation, albeit probably the most junior role on site,” Mr Finlayson said.

“Twenty-two years later, I roll back in as managing director of the company that’s bought half of it.

“There’s 24 years of combined experience in our group that’s worked at the Super Pit across all different spectrums of geology, processing and mining, so it gave us a good cross-section and understanding of the asset when we first dived into it.”

Mr Finlayson believes US partner Newmont’s long-term strategy aligns with Saracen’s approach, pointing to an operation that extends well beyond its 2032 end-of-mine life.

Former joint-venture partners, Canada-based Barrick Gold, first laid its cards on the table in 2016 when it announced it was looking for a buyer for its half share of the Golden Mile.

Mr Finlayson said from then on Barrick might not have been aligned with some of the “growth opportunities” available, making Saracen a better fit.

“I think Newmont generally see it as an opportunity to partner up with someone who hopefully brings some skills to the table to help them to realise some of the long-term growth,” he said.

“We want to keep our sights, as Newmont are, set on the long game, making sure we don’t make too many short-term decisions.

“We think what is good for us is what is good for Newmont and vice-versa.”

A wall failure at the Super Pit in May last year led to a more than 30 per cent reduction in production during the last financial year.

But Mr Finlayson believes remediation works, expected to take 3? years, coupled with underground mining and a pit extension to the south could bring the mine back to a more than 700,000-ounce operation.

“We think it’s not just an open-pit stockpile story,” he said.


Image: Saracen Minerals Managing Director Raleigh Finlayson, Kalgoorlie Miner. 


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