Why is this tiny ASX gold share soaring 10% on Friday?

Shareholders of this miner are having a golden day. But why?

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A man clenches his fists in excitement as gold coins fall from the sky.

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St Barbara Ltd (ASX: SBM) shares are ending the week with a bang.

At the time of writing, the ASX gold share is up 10% to 21 cents.

This compares favourably to the performance of the ASX 200 index, which is currently down 0.5%.

Why is this ASX gold share soaring?

Investors have been buying St Barbara shares today after the gold miner released its quarterly update.

According to the release, for the three months ended 31 March, Simberi produced 17,257 ounces of gold at an average milled grade of 1.63 g/t Au and gold recovery of 77%. The Simberi operation is the company's open cut mine in Papua New Guinea.

This quarter's production is up 33% from 12,969 ounces in the December quarter.

Management notes that mill and rope conveyor availability are yet to reach targeted levels. Nevertheless, as anticipated, its mined grade improved during the quarter as the mine schedule accessed a higher proportion of ore tonnes from the higher-grade zones in the Sorowar pit and reconciled positively.

Total gold sales for the quarter were up 32% quarter on quarter to 18,016 ounces at average realised gold price of A$3,178 per ounce. This equates to total sales of approximately A$57. 25 million for the three months.

This led to the ASX gold share ending the period with total cash of A$218 million. While this is only up a fraction from A$214 million at the end of December, it is worth noting that the gold miner paid down creditors balances in response to improved operating cashflow and the receipt of a tax refund in the Canadian subsidiary.

Commenting on the quarter, St Barbara's managing director and CEO, Andrew Strelein, said

Simberi again improved during the March quarter with gold production increasing 33% compared to the December quarter. As previously highlighted in the December quarterly report, production guidance for Simberi was weighted to H2 FY24 and we remain on track with this solid quarter.

The ASX gold share is guiding to total gold production of 60,000 ounces to 70,000 ounces for FY 2024. This compares to total production of 40,604 ounces financial year to date.

Going the other way

Heading in the other direction today is Genesis Minerals Ltd (ASX: GMD). It is down 2% at the time of writing.

In May 2023, Genesis Minerals acquired St Barbara's Leonora assets in Western Australia for A$370 million cash and 152,826,087 Genesis shares.

This deal was designed to create a leading ASX gold house exclusively focused on the prolific Leonora District in Western Australia, with production growth to a sustainable +300,000 ounces per annum.

Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. 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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