Mine seeks exemption

OceanaGold Macraes open pit. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
OceanaGold Macraes open pit. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Goldmining is not classified as an essential industry, but OceanaGold is required to conduct certain on-site activities to maintain environmental monitoring, safety and security.

The company has been working with the Government to determine what exemptions might be available for its Macraes goldmine in East Otago.

In a corporate update on Thursday, the company said it had worked with New Zealand regulators to identify the appropriate level of activity to satisfy its requirements.

It was now operating under a work plan which it had lodged with regulators to continue processing of stockpiles and broken stocks, and plant maintenance on that basis, in accordance with expectations of operators of high hazard facilities.

Full shutdown of the process plant would require additional workforce levels that would increase health and safety risks, it said.

The company had stocks on hand for an extended period beyond the current four weeks, if required.

Acting president and chief executive Michael Holmes said Oceana- Gold remained in close contact with Government authorities.

It was working closely with its workforce to support it.

At its company offices, most of its employees had transitioned to work from home and, at an operational level, strict protocols were in place which included medical screening and assessment prior to attending work, and enhanced workplace hygiene and social distancing. Only essential operators and contractors were permitted on sites.

Although OceanaGold had a good balance sheet that included $180million in cash, it was evaluating opportunities to further reduce its capital and operating spend and planning for the future including a seamless resumption of mining operations at Macraes, Mr Holmes said.

Earlier this month, OceanaGold announced president and chief executive Mick Wilkes was stepping down from the position, as well as the board, for personal reasons, effective immediately.

Mr Wilkes joined OceanaGold in 2010 and led the transformation of the company from a single asset operator in New Zealand to a mid-tier goldmining company operating four mines across three jurisdictions.

Mr Holmes, who has also been appointed to the board, has been with the company for more than seven years.

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