Should the big WKP discovery near Waihi live up to expectations then it was likely to be developed as an underground mine.
This point was made in the Diggers & Dealers Forum presentation in Kalgoorlie by Cody Whipperman, vice president-corporate development for OceanaGold Corporation (TSX & ASX: OGC) on the WKP prospect, north of Waihi which was so named because of the length of its full name – Wharekirauponga.
Whipperman, who joined the company earlier this year, told NZResources in answer to a question that while WKP was a large system with open cut potential there were the high grade systems for underground mining.
He said it was too early to indicate anything but factors were favouring going underground and one of the factors for that were environmental. What wasn’t said that the Coromandel region had active environmentalists who were against anything mining, despite the fact it was providing the Waihi region with its economic backbone.
One the issue of the protracted tungsten study for integration into gold mining at Macraes, he said the research was advancing and he knew of no date when it would be completed.
Whipperman told delegates at Diggers, which had a record attendance of 2,300, that the company was providing consistent profitability and was in the top rung of global producers which was headed by Randgold of Africa, Centerra and then OceanaGold and followed by two leading Australian producers Northern Star and Regis Resources.
He said that OceanaGold was creating opportunities by leveraging skill sets, and he cited the pressure oxidation plant at Macraes for treating complex ore as an example.
The progress ahead took in getting permitting for a 10 year mine life extension at Waihi and undertaking extension exploration in that region. At Macraes there was a strong exploration programme and planning for the future including the Round Hill project which may take in the tungsten factor.
At the Haile operation in South Carolina, a plant expansion to 4 million tonnes of ore per annum was underway and the Horseshoe underground development was advancing, while at Didipio the underground operations were ramping up.