Start date for min­ing set for mid next year

Waihi Leader - - News -

Un­der­ground min­ing in Waihi has been ap­proved by the Hau­raki District Coun­cil.

OceanaGold has re­ceived the no­ti­fi­ca­tion al­though it is sub­ject to the out­come of the ap­peal process that will close at the end of Jan­uary 2019.

Waihi gen­eral man­ager Bernie O'Leary says if there are no ap­peals he would ex­pect work to be­gin in the new Martha un­der­ground mine by about the mid­dle of next year.

Project Martha will also see min­ing re­turn to the open pit. There will also be some un­der­ground min­ing just south of the cur­rent pit un­der res­i­den­tial prop­er­ties.

O'Leary has wel­comed the de­ci­sion.

“This is good for the com­pany and good for Waihi. We now have 10 years of work ahead of us. This gives our 350 staff and con­trac­tors, and the peo­ple of Waihi an as­sur­ance that we are here for the long term.”

The con­sent fol­lows a week of hear­ings in Novem­ber.

Three in­de­pen­dent com­mis­sion­ers con­sid­ered sub­mis­sions from OceanaGold, Hau­raki District Coun­cil and Waikato Re­gional Coun­cil. There were also sub­mis­sions from Ngati Hako, the Royal Forest and Bird Pro­tec­tion So­ci­ety of New Zealand, Fish & Game New Zealand, New Zealand Trans­port Agency, Waihi Com­mu­nity Fo­rum as well as lo­cal in­di­vid­u­als.

Hau­raki District deputy mayor Toby Adams says since pur­chas­ing the Waihi Gold Mine from New­mont Min­ing Cor­po­ra­tion in Oc­to­ber 2015, OceanaGold has been ac­tively en­gaged in ex­plo­ration work and the re­source con­sent ap­pli­ca­tions came as no sur­prise. He ex­pects fur­ther ex­plo­ration work will con­tinue.

“When mak­ing a de­ci­sion on any pro­posed project it's im­por­tant to con­sider the cur­rent needs of all sec­tors of the com­mu­nity and the needs of fu­ture gen­er­a­tions too.

“That's why we've used in­de­pen­dent com­mis­sion­ers to lis­ten to all views and make in­formed and un­bi­ased de­ci­sions on this project.”

OceanaGold lodged re­source con­sent ap­pli­ca­tions in June with the Hau­raki District and Waikato Re­gional coun­cils for its pro­posed Project Martha.

The project in­cludes work to sta­bilise the north wall of the open Martha Pit and to re-in­state the pit haul road to al­low ac­cess to the bot­tom of the pit for min­ing. New un­der­ground min­ing will take place be­neath the pit and also within the Rex vein which is sit­u­ated un­der a re­serve/ res­i­den­tial area from the rugby clu­b­rooms to the Mueller and Kenny St in­ter­sec­tion.

The ap­pli­ca­tions also in­cluded the sub­di­vi­sion of a piece of com­pany-owned res­i­den­tial land on the cor­ner of Bull­town and Cam­bridge roads. The sub­di­vided piece of land will be used for a road re­align­ment.

The green light has been given for un­der­ground min­ing in Waihi.

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