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Globe Progress mine mothballed

OceanaGold Globe Progress QM Magazine Featured Image

The start of the “care and maintenance” phase at OceanaGold’s Reefton open cast gold mine, Globe Progress, near Reefton started late last year and has continued into the new year.

OceanaGold Globe Progress QM Magazine Content Image
OceanaGold Globe Progress QM Magazine Content Image

The mine was due to be mothballed in 2012, but the closure was pushed back more than once.

OceanaGold finally decided to close the mine after a 25 percent drop in gold prices. It has been estimated that this will cost the West Coast economy about $45 million in direct and indirect benefits for every year that the mine is idle.This is bad news for the West Coast, following the loss of hundreds of jobs in the coal mining sector.

While the Reefton mine is in care and maintenance about six workers will be employed at the mine, mostly on maintenance duties. This is a significant reduction from the approximately 184 workers and 20 contractors who worked at the gold mine when it was fully operating.

OceanaGold chief executive, Mick Wilkes, says the Reefton plant and equipment would remain on site with a view to resuming mining when the gold price rose to the point where the mine was again economic.

The company would also continue to explore other options within the Inangahua goldfield, including the underground potential of the Globe Progress ore body and the Blackwater project at historic Waiuta.

Oceana intends to maintain its current access arrangement with the Department of Conservation through to 2019, but gold production at Reefton will be reduced by some 110,000 ounces for the period 2015-17.

Wilkes says the trans-Tasman mining company had enjoyed strong support from the Reefton and regional communities as well as DOC, but mining operations needed to generate sufficient risk-weighted returns in order to remain sustainable and the decline in the gold price had eroded much of the profitability at Reefton.

“While we are hopeful for an improved gold environment, we have taken the necessary steps to ensure a sustainable and profitable operation at Reefton over the next two years and we will continue to evaluate other opportunities across the goldfield.” By Peter Owens.

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