Oceana looks to go beneath Martha Pit

Oceana looks to go beneath Martha Pit
Underground miner Cliff Wiki (centre) talks with OceanaGold CEO Mick Wilkes (right) and Board members underground at Correnso .

OceanaGold Waihi is applying for consents to construct and operate a new mine located below the Martha open pit.
Project Martha is made up of two elements – a layback of the Martha north wall called Phase 4 including removal of the slip material and construction of a new haul road and an underground mine mainly below the Martha open pit which will be accessed from the existing Favona portal.
A small ore body is located below residential properties and around the Mueller Street/Kenny Street intersection. “We expect mining activity under the open pit to start in 2020 and continue for at least 10 years,” says company spokesperson Kit Wilson.
“This operation will be mining slightly deeper but around the same area worked by the pre-1952 miners.
Kit says that OceanaGold Waihi will be proposing consent conditions similar to those which apply to its Correnso underground mind and its previous operations at Martha open pit.
The public will have an opportunity to provide submissions to Councils and a Council hearing would most likely be held in October with a decision announced the following month after which there would be an appeal period.
OceanaGoldnaGold Waihi general manager Bernie O’Leary says public consultation is vital.
“We know from our interaction with Waihi East residents during the announcement phase of our Correnso underground mine that people don’t like surprises and don’t like uncertainty; and they certainly don’t like the idea that their home could be affected or be worth less as result of our proposals,” Bernie says.
To address this OceanaGold Waihi organised a series of community meetings. There was also was an open day for the wider community on 4 April and the company has produced a series of information sheets available on the company website. Kit says that there has been a mix of feelings from the local community about the project.
“But there is a degree of understanding, if not of total acceptance. Some recently arrived residents are concerned, but the majority of people have seen that we are capable of doing this, and doing it well at Correnso.”
Kit says that Project Martha will provide significant employment as well as enable OceanaGold to continue to partner with the schools and many community organisations it currently assists.

Oceana looks to go beneath Martha Pit
OceanaGold will apply for consent to lay back the north wall of the Waihi Martha open pit (at the top of this picture), remove the slip, and mine beneath the pit floor.

Gold mining in Waihi is presently responsible for 40%-45% of the Waihi economy and directly employs 350 staff, with many more indirect jobs. The industry spends $85m in Waikato region each year and last year paid $22m royalties, taxes and rates.
Kit says that Project Martha provides a continuation of similar benefits for at least another 10 years. Further projects are also in the planning stage with announcements expected later this year.

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