Mining company OceanaGold shared its proposed plans for a further development in Waihi at a Council meeting in Paeroa this morning.
The proposed Martha Project includes work to stabilise the north wall of the open Martha Pit to allow access to the bottom of the pit for mining, and the creation of new underground drives mostly beneath the pit and also in a residential area spanning from the rugby clubrooms to the Mueller and Kenny St intersection.
Mining in the Martha Pit has been stalled since April 2015 when there was a major slip on the north wall. This was followed by another major rock fall in the same area a year later.
Mayor John Tregidga says the proposal by OceanaGold is not yet final and there is still a resource consent process to be followed. The company has started consulting with the community and has indicated it will lodge a number of consent applications in around two months.
“Once we receive an application from the company the consent process will allow community feedback in a variety of ways including face to face conversations, online comments, and formal written submissions,” he said. “The Council will ensure all information is available to the community as soon as possible.”
He says the Council will use independent professionals to ensure the information received from the company is technically robust, and independent commissioners will be engaged to listen to community feedback and make a decision.
“The Council needs to consider the interests of all the people in Waihi, this includes all residents, ratepayers and all businesses.”
At this morning’s presentation OceanaGold Waihi General Manager Bernie O’Leary said the proposed new project would see mining continue in the town for an estimated 11 years.
Mayor Tregidga says since purchasing the Waihi Gold Mine from Newmont Mining Corporation in October 2015, OceanaGold has been actively engaged in exploration work.
“We’re aware the company is continuing to explore and study other mining opportunities this year and beyond, and we expect we’ll see other mining proposals come through these doors in the future.”