Oceana Gold delivers 5-millionth ounce

It had all the trappings of a Royal birth.

There was the anticipation, which included speculation over the arrival time, before Oceana Gold's five millionth ounce of gold was delivered at 12.57pm yesterday.

It might have been all in a day's work for Rhys Davies and David Brice, who poured the bar the ounce was a part of, but the enormity of the occasion was not lost on them or other staff at the Macraes mine.

"Where else in New Zealand can you do this? We are lucky ... Not many mines in the world hit five million," Mr Brice said.

Mr Davies reckoned the pair were "just doing the easy part".

"All the hard work's been done - we just pour it."

The 498.6oz bar - worth more than a million dollars - was poured in the confines of the very secure Gold Room, a name more grandiose than the room would bear out.

Gold Room services co-ordinator Rhys Davies (left) and Macraes general manager Matt Hine hold a...
Gold Room services co-ordinator Rhys Davies (left) and Macraes general manager Matt Hine hold a gold bar containing the five-millionth ounce of gold poured at Macraes gold mine yesterday. Photos: Craig Baxter

While quipping it was "certainly not TV quality" - in reference to the perfectly shiny bars of gold often depicted on television - it would "polish up all right", Mr Davies said.

After cooling, the bar - stamped with the number 9913 - was casually taken to show staff members on the site.

It was handed around and photographs were taken - both individual and group - as the milestone was marked.

Mr Brice, who estimated he had poured about $1.2billion worth of gold at Macraes, said gold production at the site was very much a team effort.

David Brice and Rhys Davies pour the five-millionth ounce of gold.
David Brice and Rhys Davies pour the five-millionth ounce of gold.
Given the security around the Gold Room, very few people got to see a gold bar being poured and so it was special for them to share the moment.

Gold production at Macraes started on January 1, 1990, and the first bar was poured on October 20 that year.

The one millionth ounce was poured in January 2000, the two millionth in November 2005, the three millionth in March 2010 and the four millionth in March 2014. The next milestone to mark would be the pouring of the 10,000th bar.

Macraes general manager Matt Hine said yesterday was a day to celebrate that had been nearly 30 years in the making.

The life of the mine had not expected to be so long and its showed the innovation and hard work that many people had put in over a long period, he said.

Next year would mark that 30th year and plans were being made for a celebration to mark the occasion.

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