Prospects good at Wharekirauponga

Oceana Gold’s underground Correnso mine at Waihi. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Oceana Gold’s underground Correnso mine at Waihi. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Gold producer Oceana Gold, which has just marked production of its 10,000th gold bar from its Macraes mine, has increased its estimated gold and silver yield at its Wharekirauponga (WKP) prospect near its North Island Waihi mine.

Yesterday it announced that additional high-grade gold and silver had been discovered during drilling along the East Graben vein at the prospect, supporting and extending the high grade results and resources tabled at the start of 2019.

Latest testing had indicated resource grading from 9.8 grams of gold and 14.2 grams of silver per tonne to as high as 150.4 grams of gold per tonne and 918.9 grams of silver in the East Graben main vein.

Oceana Gold president and CEO Mick Wilkes described WKP as a "game-changing" discovery that continued to yield significant high-grade results.

"Drilling on the East Graben vein, one of several structures at WKP, has intersected significant widths and grades in nearly every hole to date which further increases our confidence in continuing to advance this prospect," he said.

He said that based on the initial high-grade resource announced earlier this year and the continued success of the company's exploration programme, WKP is demonstrating the "significant potential" still to be fully realised in the Waihi district.

"We are not only excited about the prospects at Waihi for our shareholders but also for our Kiwi workforce and the local, rural communities."

Mr Wilkes said discoveries such WKP have the potential to deliver significant socio-economic benefits.

The company said that since the February 2019 exploration update, 8788 metres had been drilled at WKP focusing on resource definition drilling of the East Graben vein; one of three major low sulphidation epithermal gold-silver veins identified to date within the WKP prospect area, and had also discovered a number of high-grade veins in the hanging wall and footwall of the vein.

The company commenced exploration of the WKP prospect in August 2017 and to date has drilled more than 24 kilometres through 54 holes.

Initial resource expectations were for 234,000 ounces of gold and 296,000 ounces of silver on the East Graben vein.

Mr Wilkes said additional drill sites were now being considered to enable more extensive exploration to the north and south and extensional drilling of the high-grade intersections.

Outside of its two operations in New Zealand, Oceana Gold operates a gold copper mine in the Philippines as well as the Haile gold mine in South Carolina, US.

The company also has a pipeline of exploration opportunities in the Americas and Asia-Pacific regions.

It expects to produce between 460,000 to 480,000 ounces of gold for 2019, at costs ranging between $1040 and $1090 per ounce sold.

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