Ground movement affects mine work

Dump trucks and a large water-spraying vehicle (foreground) are parked during a precautionary...
Dump trucks and a large water-spraying vehicle (foreground) are parked during a precautionary suspension of part of the operations of the Macraes goldmine site on Saturday. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Operations at Oceana Gold's goldmining site at Macraes were suspended following a safety alert on Saturday.

Ground movement monitoring systems detected movement, resulting in operations being halted at the firm's Frasers underground mine and at the mining pit from mid-morning.

The temporary suspension was not a ''big deal'', general manager of the Macraes operation Bernie O'Leary said.

He emphasised the firm's processing plant had continued to operate throughout the suspension of some operations.

''The processing plant is not affected. We're still producing gold,'' Mr O'Leary said.

Asked about the extent of the ground movement and whether heavy rain last week had contributed to it, he confirmed some movement had occurred but indicated it was not immediately clear whether water was involved.

The firm had taken a ''responsible'' approach by suspending some of its operations for safety reasons until further monitoring and analysis could be carried out on Saturday.

''We've got a very good monitoring system,'' Mr O'Leary added.

After an ''area of instability'' had been detected, the firm's operations in the pit area and underground work had been suspended temporarily.

He confirmed after further monitoring, many of the suspended activities resumed later on Saturday.

Operations would continue in most of the pit area, apart from in the ''area of instability'', which was to be reviewed yesterday.

Asked about lost production costs, Mr O'Leary said the suspension had had ''no impact'' because gold production through the processing plant had been continuing throughout.

Mr O'Leary did not return calls yesterday.

About 5pm on Saturday a line of white cones could be seen blocking off an equipment access road near the base of the mine pit.

Shortly before 6pm on Saturday, as some of the suspended operations resumed, a couple of dump trucks could be seen heading away, trailing dust, and huge water-spraying trucks were also back in action.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment said they had not been notified of any incidents at the mine.


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