OceanaGold has obtained resource permits to commence operations at its Martha Underground Project in Waihi, New Zealand.
The consent comes after the conclusion of the statutory appeal period related to the Martha Project permitting process.
Preparation of management plans and detailed mine designs have started to allow commencement of mining operations, including stope and infrastructure development.
OceanaGold president and CEO Mick Wilkes said: “Receipt of the permits at the Martha Underground represents a tremendous outcome that will benefit the company, its shareholders, the town of Waihi and New Zealand.
“The Waihi operation has had a long, rich history of operating to the highest of environmental and social standards globally while contributing significant socio-economic benefits to Waihi and the country.”
At the time of ramp-up, the company will use four diamond rigs from the two underground drill drives beneath the Martha Open Pit to continue to drill the underground targets.
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Based on studies and exploration carried out to date, the company has an exploration target ranging between five and eight million tonnes grading four to six grams per tonne within the Martha Underground.
As of 9 August, the Martha Underground hosted a measured and indicated resource of 140,000oz and an inferred resource of approximately 339,000oz of gold. This was based on only one-third of the planned drilling programme.
For this year, OceanaGold has budgeted a further 42,000m for testing the exploration target.
Wilkes further added: “New Zealand is a template for responsible hard rock mining, clearly demonstrated by the success we’ve had at Macraes, Waihi and Reefton gold mines.”
This year, the company expects to produce between 500,000oz and 550,000oz of gold and 14,000t to 15,000t of copper.