Operations set to resume after roading slump

Goldminer Oceana Gold expects to fully resume operation of its Frasers underground mine at its East Otago Macraes site today, following a access road slump on Saturday which prompted suspension of some work.

The roading slump was on the lower section of the Frasers open pit access, and the portal to access the extensive Frasers underground mine is at the bottom of that pit.

Mine general manager Bernie O'Leary said yesterday because of the monitoring system, no staff were trapped on the wrong side of the slump.

''Access was cut off to the bottom of the pit and [to the] underground,'' he said.

There had been no underground rockfalls or other above-ground slips. Ore production had continued from stockpiles and there was enough work in other areas for staff, Mr O'Leary said.

''We are excavating our way through the slump. It's an earthmoving exercise,'' he said.

He said operations were suspended ''for only a few hours'' on Saturday, and a temporary access would subsequently ''be permanent'' by today, he said.

Oceana has in the past had problems at Macraes during times of high rainfall, with accumulating water having slowed or disrupted operations.

When asked about the size of the slump, and possible cause, Mr O'Leary said surveying of the slump area had not been completed and he could give no firm estimate yet.

''[However] It is possible rain had a part to play in it,'' Mr O'Leary said.

simon.hartley@odt.co.nz

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