Oceanagold chief operating officer Michael Holmes speaking
at Diggers & Dealers Forum in Kalgoorlie yesterday.
The future of Oceana Gold's South Island operations
remains under scrutiny with the possibility decisions on the
future of New Zealand sites might be known by the end of the
While there remains an estimated more than 8 million South
Island ounces, between the Macraes operations in East Otago
and Reefton on the West Coast, the gold price is still
depressed and costs to produce the New Zealand gold are high.
At the annual miners' Diggers & Dealers Forum in
Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, this week, Oceana's chief
operating officer Michael Holmes said the future of New
Zealand operations should be made more clear by the end of
the year, along with the scope to progress future
developments in New Zealand.
For 2015, there is a proposal to mothball the Reefton open
pit which had employed about 260 staff, also the mine life of
Frasers underground at Macraes ends in the middle of 2015.
The Macraes open pit mine-life is set for the end of 2017.
Since September, Oceana has laid off about 270 staff and
contractors; including 160 at Macraes and about 110 at
Reefton, including the latest being 51 at the Globe Progress
site in Reefton at the weekend.
Mr Holmes said with an untapped resource of 8 million ounces
at the New Zealand operations, the best endeavours would be
undertaken to harness this, nz.resources.com reported from
When contacted yesterday, an Oceana spokeswoman said the
company would continue to explore these ''future
opportunities'', through several studies which were due for
completion during the third quarter of 2014.
Mr Holmes said those efforts included the blueprint for
reopening the historic high grade Blackwater mine at Waiuta
in the Reefton goldfield.
Also, there was an evaluation to tap undeveloped higher grade
gold and also tungsten at Round Hill, the first open cut mine
at Macraes, as well as deeper high grade ore on the eastern
side of other filled-in pits around Macraes.
For the latter project, it was understood to involve the
multimillion-dollar cost of moving the Macraes processing
Mining of the Coronation Pit at Macraes was expected to start
at the end of the year.
Mr Holmes was asked whether Oceana was looking at both
Blackwater and the Round Hill projects as being the next wave
of projects in New Zealand to maintain the workforce.
Oceana was looking to use skilled New Zealand workers to
assist with the next stage of mining at the Didipio
gold-copper mine in the Philippines, making a start towards
He said this was likely sooner, as Didipio transformed Oceana
from being a marginal Australasian gold miner, following the
gold price slide, to perhaps the most cash positive operator.