The West

Blasting at the Raleigh mine. Picture: Kalgoorlie Miner.
Blasting at the Raleigh mine. Picture: Kalgoorlie Miner.

UPDATE 1.35pm: Northern Star Resources says it could take two months before its newly-acquired Raleigh underground mine, north-west of Kalgoorlie-Boulder, resumes normal operations following damage in a 4.6 magnitude earthquake which struck the Goldfields last week.

The Bill Beament-run gold miner took the keys for Raleigh on Saturday following Northern Star's $75 million acquisition of the Kanowna operations from Canada's Barrick, three days after the second-biggest earthquake on record rocked the city.

The earthquake also forced the evacuation of the Frog's Leg and Homestead underground gold mines.

In a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange yesterday, Northern Star said it will take six to eight weeks to "rectify the situation" which may delay the production of 3000 to 5000 ounces this year.

Northern Star said production at the nearby Rubicon-Hornet underground mines, which provide the majority of ore for the East Kundana joint venture, was unaffected.

Mr Beament has described East Kundana, in which Northern Star holds a 51 per cent stake alongside the Anton Billis-run Tribune Resources and Rand Mining, as the "jewel in the crown" in the Kanowna deal.

The sale was announced in January and also includes the Kanowna Belle mine, mill and roaster and was hot on the heels of Northern Star's $25 million acquisition of Barrick's Plutonic mine, which was completed last month.

Barrick said since mid-2013 it has announced divestitures of high-cost and "non-core assets" for total consideration of almost $1 billion, strengthening the overall quality of the company's portfolio.

The acquisitions make Northern Star the fifth-biggest Australian-listed gold producer virtually overnight, with targeted annual production of 350,000oz.

The company now employs close to 1000 workers after inheriting about 330 at Plutonic and another 500 from the Kanowna deal.

Northern Star already employed about 100 workers at its existing Paulsens mine in the Pilbara.

Shares in Northern Star closed up eight cents, or 6.96 per cent, at $1.23.

The West Australian

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