The West

Northern Star on billionaires doorstep

Bill Beament's bold move to consolidate the gold mining assets of international majors keen to exit the State has put Northern Star Resources on the brink of the State's billion-dollar club.

At Friday's share price close of $1.62, Northern Star was capitalised at $951 million, according to Bloomberg data.

Northern Star last week came within a whisker of the $1.71 trading price needed to break the billion-dollar barrier. It came courtesy of a bullish production update which helped warm investors to the company's aggressive acquisition strategy and dampened any suggestion Mr Beament's management team would struggle to digest its quick-fire acquisition of four new projects in the past eight months.

Before buying Barrick Gold's Plutonic mine late last year, Northern Star was producing about 100,000 ounces of gold a year. After picking up Plutonic, Kundana and Kanowna Belle from Barrick, at bargain-basement prices, and then Jundee from Newmont Mining for $82.5 million, Northern Star is now targeting production of 600,000oz a year.

It is now the biggest home-grown gold miner on the sharemarket by capitalisation, sitting third on the ASX all ordinaries gold index behind Newcrest Mining and OceanaGold, having nudged past one-time market darling Regis Resources earlier in the week.

There are never any guarantees on the market, however - only a month ago Maurice Brand's Liquefied Natural Gas was celebrating its entry into the exclusive club, only to fall back in following weeks.

The West Australian

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