Project Martha to go ahead
OceanaGold has received notification from Hauraki District Council and Waikato Regional Council that the company’s application for an underground mine below the Martha open pit in Waihi has been approved.
The approval is subject to the outcome of the appeal process that will close at the end of January 2019.
OceanaGold Waihi General Manager Bernie O’Leary says that 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 ten 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 and Game New Zealand, New Zealand Transport Agency, Waihi Community Forum as well as local individuals.