OceanaGold Projects Update
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Posted January 29, 2020
Kit Wilson joined Brian Gentil in the studio for a catch up about mining operations in Waihi now that the Christmas season is behind us. Click play on our podcast link to hear the full interview.
The water shortage in Waihi and Waikino has caused a bit of concern around the district. There have been suggestions that OceanaGold could help to solve the water issue. Can they?Brian asked Kit how much water the mining company takes out of the Ohinemuri River? Kit said it’s about 80 cubic metres of water per day, which is about 60 spa pools per day and they put back in 12,000 cubic metres - about 5 olympic size swimming pools a day. Kit said although the water the mining company puts back into the river could be used for drinking, it is hard water, which plays havoc with plumbing systems. “You wouldn’t want to put it through your system.” He said it would have to be softened to be used. A tiny amount of town water is used on OceanaGold’s site for toilets and drinking water. A few pumps also use town water to ensure they work effectively. “It could be something that we could look at collaboratively and figure out if there’s a way of doing it,” Kit said about the suggestion that mine water could be used to help alleviate the recurring water shortage in summer. He added that the frothy brown water that is sometimes seen on the river is not caused by OceanaGold but is caused by low river levels and rotting vegetation. “Our water that we put back in helps that dissipate.”
Brian inquired what the situation is at the moment with staff and rumoured cut backs. Kit said OceanaGold is approaching a production gap which means no ore to make the mill turn. Apart from a tiny bit of narrow vein mining from Correnso some jobs in the process plant will no longer be there, he said. “This is a blip. It’s a very inconvenient and it’s a very unfortunate blip but it is there.” OceanaGold has also made the decision to reduce their 2020 exploration budget which means staff will be let go from their exploration department. It also means that some of the drillers from OceanaGold’s major drilling contractor will be let go too. All of that means it will add up to quite a number of people. “We’re losing good people. It’s not a decision which has been made lightly at all. We realise that there are people who are working here that depend on us and we’re working very hard to make sure that where possible we can assist them into other jobs. The mining industry as a whole is still very buoyant - it’s just that in Waihi for the next year it’s going to be very quiet.”
Brian queried what happened when a very large blast was felt in Waihi last Saturday. The company is working on having information ready by the next community meeting on the 27th of February. The only consolation from this is that this was the last major blast for Correnso, after that they’re into much smaller narrow vein material.Kit apologised about the large blast and said he understands the concern. He reminded people this large blast will not come out in the next AEP payment. It will come out in the payment after that.
Brian asked about the Pit Rim Walkway and where it is at. Kit said it’s hoped work will start to move the walkway back away from the road in the coming months. He also made an admission about flying the company drone in the pit when he lost the signal and the drone. If anyone sees the drone while walking around the Pit Rim Walkway and you see something white that looks like a white Phantom Four Drone, please let Kit know.
To hear the full interview with Kit Wilson click play on our podcast link.