Oceana Gold's reserves drop slightly

Copper and gold concentrate from Oceana Gold's northern Philippines mine at Didipio. Photo supplied.
Copper and gold concentrate from Oceana Gold's northern Philippines mine at Didipio. Photo supplied.
Gold miner Oceana Gold has updated its estimated resource and reserves of gold and copper in New Zealand and the Philippines, with no change to guidance for the calendar year.

Estimated proven and probable reserves of gold and copper have declined slightly in both New Zealand and the Philippines, and using a guideline of $US1250 ($NZ1453) per ounce of gold and $US3.25c per pound of copper, Oceana reported reserves estimates of 3.14 million oz of gold and 210,000 tonnes of copper.

Oceana expects to produce between 275,000 and 305,000 ounces of gold and between 21,000 and 24,000 tonnes of copper, for its calendar year production; compared with last year's record 325,732 oz.

Oceana, in its 24th year of operation, has been restructuring for about a year in the face of rising production costs and an earlier slump in global gold prices.

It has laid off about 100 staff and contractors at its Macraes mine open pit in East Otago, while the future of about 260 staff at its Reefton open pit mine on the West Coast are under threat of mothballing next year.

Chief executive Mick Wilkes said in a statement yesterday Oceana was focusing on satellite projects adjacent to existing tenements, looking for resources that were complementary and added low production cost gold reserves to its portfolio.

''We will continue to develop new reserves and resources at our existing mines from in-pit and near-mine exploration,'' he said.

In the Philippines, the decrease was mainly due to depletion from open pit mining, as a result of starting commercial production during 2013, and the lifting of the open pit cut-off grade from 0.50 grams of gold per tonne of ore to 0.55 grams, including translation of copper to gold equivalent.

The New Zealand decline in estimated reserves was due to mining depletion and a lower assumed New Zealand dollar gold price, compared with 2012, but partly offset by positive drilling results in two areas at Macraes.

-simon.hartley@odt.co.nz

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