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Is St Barbara the best gold miner to buy on the ASX right now?

The St Barbara Ltd (ASX: SBM) share price is on course to finish the week on a positive note.

In afternoon trade the gold miner’s shares are almost 1.5% higher at $3.16.

Why is the St Barbara share price climbing higher today?

Investors have been buying St Barbara’s shares today after the release of its third quarter update.

During the quarter the company achieved consolidated gold production of 88,358 ounces. This was a decline of 1% on the previous quarter and brought its year to date gold production up to 276,149 ounces.

The main drag on the company’s production was its Simberi operation. It achieved 34,097 ounces of gold during the quarter, down 5.2% on the previous quarter. This offset a 1.9% quarter on quarter increase in production at Gwalia to 54,261 ounces.

Pleasingly, the Gwalia operation also experienced a decline in its all-in sustaining costs (AISC) during the March quarter. Gwalia’s AISC came in 6% lower at A$1,016 an ounce. This offset a 7.2% increase in Simberi’s AISC to A$1,229, leaving the company with a consolidated AISC of A$1,098 an ounce, down almost 1% quarter on quarter.

Year to date the company’s AISC stands at A$1,037 an ounce, though management expects this to increase in the final quarter and has increased its full year AISC guidance to between A$1,075 to A$1,100 an ounce from between A$1,045 to A$1,100 an ounce.

It also lowered its full year production guidance to 365,000 to 375,000 ounces from between 365,000 to 385,000 ounces.

Should you invest?

Whilst this wasn’t the strongest quarter from St Barbara and its guidance was a little underwhelming, as mentioned here, I do think it is the best value gold miner on the ASX right now after a recent pull back in its share price.

This could make it worth considering ahead of the likes of Newcrest Mining Limited (ASX: NCM) and Northern Star Resources Ltd (ASX: NST) if you’re looking for exposure to the precious metal.

But as I'm not overly bullish on the gold price I intend to focus these growth shares which have been tipped to be market beaters.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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