Waihi test results encouraging

Oceana Gold's Martha pit at Waihi. Photo: Supplied
Oceana Gold's Martha pit at Waihi. Photo: Supplied
Oceana Gold has reported ''high-grade gold'' intercepts in its latest round of exploration drilling at its WKP prospect, near its Martha mine at Waihi in Coromandel.

Oceana chief executive Mick Wilkes said in a market update yesterday the drill results supported the significance of the exploration programme, which was targeting high-grade ore from underground mining.

Mr Wilkes described the drilling as ''excellent results to date'' and said the WKP prospect had the potential to contribute to a further mine life extension of the Waihi operations.

''These drill results, albeit early in the discovery process, are on par with underground targets being reported from drilling at our Martha Project; a world class multimillion-ounce high-grade gold deposit,'' Mr Wilkes said.

The latest test results ranged from 4.53g of gold per tonne of ore, over 9.8m, up to 58.2g, over a length of 1.2m.

Oceana's ongoing exploration programme at WKP includes surface mapping and ground geophysics and a further 7800m of diamond drilling scheduled for the rest of this year.

The Martha mine may yet get a 10-year life extension boost, with Oceana having made the decision to drill underground, around the closed Martha pit.

Oceana has, since 2005, opened and closed its Favona and Trio tunnels and is still mining its Correnso tunnel

Waihi is expected to produce between 75,000oz and 85,000oz of gold this calendar year.

Oceana has begun the consenting process for the Martha underground project, which could be operational by 2020.

Since November last year 6803m of test drilling had been undertaken at WKP, focusing on the potential of the East Graben Vein, one of three major epithermal gold-silver veins. Two other significant veins, West and T Stream were also test drilled with ''encouraging'' widths and gold grades, Mr Wilkes said.

simon.hartley@odt.co.nz

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