OceanaGold Corporation announced that the statutory appeal period related to the Martha Underground Project permitting process has concluded with no appeals filed. As a result, the Project has received its resource consents to commence operations. Mick Wilkes, President and CEO stated that receipt of the permits at the Martha Underground represents a tremendous outcome that will benefit the Company, its shareholders, the town of Waihi and New Zealand. The Waihi operation has had a long, rich history of operating to the highest of environmental and social standards globally while contributing significant socio-economic benefits to Waihi and the country.
The Company has started preparing management plans and detailed mine designs to allow mining operations to begin, which will include stope and infrastructure development. The Company expects that at full underground mining rate at Martha, the Waihi operation production would return to more recent historic levels. During the ramp –up phase, the Company will continue to drill the Martha Underground targets utilising four diamond rigs from the two underground drill drives located beneath the Martha Open Pit in order to further discover and add resources. Based on studies and exploration to-date, the Company has an exploration target of between five and eight million tonnes grading four to six grams per tonne within the Martha Underground.
As at August 9, 2018, the Martha Underground hosted a Measured & Indicated Resource of 140,000 ounces of gold and an Inferred Resource of approximately 339,000 ounces of gold, which was based on only one-third of the planned drilling program. Since this date, the Company has continued to drill from underground and has budgeted a further 42,000 metres in 2019 to further test the exploration target.