Finance, consents in place for new Coast goldmine

All the finance and consents for a proposed underground goldmine at Waiuta are now in place and all is ready to start the largest gold development on the West Coast in 20 years.

Site works will begin next month to reopen the abandoned but rich Blackwater Mine beneath Waiuta township, creating 40 jobs initially and rising to 100 when it moves into full production.

It could triple gold production on the West Coast.

It involves driving two tunnels from the nearby Snowy River to reach the Blackwater shaft.

Australian-based Federation Mining has been working on the proposal in conjunction with Oceana Gold, which developed and worked out the nearby Globe Progress open-cast goldmine.

Federation Mining Pty Ltd said yesterday it had secured funding to develop the mine.

The funding includes a $15million loan from the Provincial Growth Fund, recently approved by the New Zealand Government, subject to final documentation.

The PGF loan was conditional on Federation Mining securing co-funding. That has now been obtained from Australian Super — the largest superannuation fund in Australia.

The investment by Australian Super was approved by the Overseas Investment Office in late July.

The landmark investments will allow site works to begin within weeks.

Greymouth Mayor Tania Gibson said it was "amazing" news.

"It’s going to be great for the Grey district and Buller.

"It’s fabulous."

Minerals West Coast manager Patrick Phelps said: "It’s nice to have a big project coming in, especially in the Reefton area with Globe having closed."

The number of promised jobs was good for a town the size of Reefton, having a population of 900, and the flow-on effects were another bonus.

Blackwater would triple gold production on the West Coast, he said.

West Coast-Tasman MP Damien O’Connor also welcomed the funding announcement.

Federation Mining said the site infrastructure would be established before starting the twin 3.3km decline (tunnel) in late 2020, followed by an underground drilling programme to update the 700,000oz Blackwater resource.

Federation is planning to recruit its own workforce to develop the mine and will need truck drivers, equipment operators, mining professionals, safety and environmental professionals and maintenance staff, supported by contractors and businesses.


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