When the Paulsens operation was poised to be placed on care and maintenance, Bill Beament and the rest of the Northern Star Resources (NSR) team capitalised on the opportunity to send the Ashburton region’s only operating gold mine into the record books.
A three-stage strategy was devised by NSR to pay off the acquisition and maximise the return from the operation. The first stage was to mine the 55 000 oz mine plan and pay off the cost of the acquisition, then maintain profitable production beyond the seven months and re-establish a mine life. The second stage involved an early commitment to a 220 m long diamond drill drive being placed in the hanging wall of the orebody from which the extensions of the orebody could be further explored, allowing the second stage of the plan to come into effect and extend the mine life by converting Inferred Resources into the mine plan. The third stage of the initial plan was to utilise this drill drive and continue to drill deeper holes beyond the current limit of drilling in the ore zones to extend the orebody and increase the mine’s life.
With an ever growing desire to further expand, the young company took on the bold move of establishing its own mining services division. A critical element to the success of this was ensuring that the right people were recruited with the appropriate specialised skill sets.
Aligning common goals amongst all NSR team members, from the board and senior management to the work force on site, was critical to integrate the new and driven direction that Paulsens had adopted. It was essential to change the focus and a shift in all employees’ attitudes and values from a mine that was all but down and out, to a site that wanted to be kicking some serious goals.
Teaming together a passionate and driven leader with a strong allied workforce was always going to put NSR in the best position possible to make Paulsens the success story that it now is. But without the calculated risks and enthusiastic attitude, the little known mine site in the Pilbara might have remained just that.
Jones, C, 2014. The Paulsens transformation – a shining
light under a northern star, in Proceedings 12th AusIMM Underground
Operators’ Conference 2014 , pp 191–196 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).