Posted by Gold FM on 23/05/2013
Waihi born Alan Death has been given the administrative go-ahead to mine a 3.6ha area next to the Ohinemuri River with his old mate Keith Hay, who worked at Newmont Waihi Gold some years ago. The pair has secured the exclusive rights to take 10,000 tonnes of ore from an old mining tailings dump next to the river at Waikino.
Digging up gold and silver is not going to be easy because the men still have to negotiate access with DoC, apply for and get resource consent, extract the minerals without contaminating the river and transport it to a mill willing to process it.
While the price of gold today has a lot more value than it did some years ago, the associated costs with getting the raw material from the ground to the buyer have also gone up.
We approached Newmont to find out if they had been asked to mill the gold and silver, and External Affairs Coordinator Kit Wilson said
“It is technically feasible for Newmont Waihi Gold to treat ore from other sources at its mill and process plant in Waihi. The ore is analysed to ensure that it is geochemically compatible, and then assayed to determine the gold and silver content. It’s a bit like a dairy farmer providing milk to the dairy factory. You check the grade of the milk before you put it through the factory, because once it’s in there it gets mixed up with all the other milk”.
“Accurate sampling and analysing are crucial for successful ‘toll treatment’. Some operators with very small amounts of ore have previously shipped material to Australia to be processed”.
Mr Wilson explained that a Mining Licence is just that, a licence to mine an area of land administered by the Crown. “It means they have secured the right for that particular area and it is exclusive to them, but it’s not permission to ‘go ahead’ and start digging as some media have been reporting. Any mining activity would require approval under the Resource Management Act”.
The Waikino Express - 1889
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