Dump trucks and a large water-spraying vehicle (foreground)
are parked during a precautionary suspension of part of the
operations of the Macraes goldmine site on Saturday. Photo
by Craig Baxter.
Operations at Oceana Gold's goldmining site at Macraes
were suspended following a safety alert on Saturday.
Ground movement monitoring systems detected movement,
resulting in operations being halted at the firm's Frasers
underground mine and at the mining pit from mid-morning.
The temporary suspension was not a ''big deal'', general
manager of the Macraes operation Bernie O'Leary said.
He emphasised the firm's processing plant had continued to
operate throughout the suspension of some operations.
''The processing plant is not affected. We're still producing
gold,'' Mr O'Leary said.
Asked about the extent of the ground movement and whether
heavy rain last week had contributed to it, he confirmed some
movement had occurred but indicated it was not immediately
clear whether water was involved.
The firm had taken a ''responsible'' approach by suspending
some of its operations for safety reasons until further
monitoring and analysis could be carried out on Saturday.
''We've got a very good monitoring system,'' Mr O'Leary
After an ''area of instability'' had been detected, the
firm's operations in the pit area and underground work had
been suspended temporarily.
He confirmed after further monitoring, many of the suspended
activities resumed later on Saturday.
Operations would continue in most of the pit area, apart from
in the ''area of instability'', which was to be reviewed
Asked about lost production costs, Mr O'Leary said the
suspension had had ''no impact'' because gold production
through the processing plant had been continuing throughout.
Mr O'Leary did not return calls yesterday.
About 5pm on Saturday a line of white cones could be seen
blocking off an equipment access road near the base of the
Shortly before 6pm on Saturday, as some of the suspended
operations resumed, a couple of dump trucks could be seen
heading away, trailing dust, and huge water-spraying trucks
were also back in action.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Business, Innovation and
Employment said they had not been notified of any incidents
at the mine.