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OceanaGold Corporation has started milling at the Haile Gold Mine in Lancaster county, South Carolina, US.

Last October, OceanaGold started dry commissioning by concentrating on the crushing circuit and emergency stockpile system. The company then commissioned grinding, carbon-in-leach (CIL) and tailings circuits for treatment of oxide and transition ores.

It has completed construction of the flotation and fine grinding circuits, which would begin its operations in the following weeks to treat sulphide ore.

OceanaGold president and CEO Mick Wilkes said: “We are very pleased with the start of milling ore at Haile. This milestone represents a special moment in the history of the Haile Gold Mine as this historic goldfield is re-established with a world-class modern mining operation in Lancaster county, South Carolina.

“From the start of the year, we established a firm timeline of key milestones that we have achieved throughout the year, culminating in the start of milling ore at year-end as planned.

“We have established a strong team in South Carolina that include technical experts from across our business to carryout commissioning activities and transition to operations. Achieving this important benchmark in just 15 months since taking ownership of Haile is a true testament to the leadership and dedication of our team.”

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OceanaGold claimed to stockpile nearly 675,000t of ore on surface. It includes 275,000t grading 2.3g/t of sulphide ore, 245,000t grading 0.6g/t of oxide ore and 155,000t grading 1.1g/t of transitional material.

This year, the company expects to produce 150,000oz to 170,000oz of gold from this mine sustaining an all-inclusive cost of around $500 to $550 per ounce.

OceanaGold also intends to advance the Haile Expansion optimisation study. The results are expected to be published by the middle of this year.

OceanaGold holds mining assets in Philippines, New Zealand and the US. It is currently developing the Haile Gold Mine, which is expected to start commercial production this year.

Image: Illuminated Haile Gold Mine grinding circuit. Photo: courtesy of OceanaGold Corporation.