OceanaGold Corp. announced that the statutory appeal period for the Martha Underground Project permitting process has concluded with no appeals filed. As a result, the project has received its resource consents (permits) to commence operations, the company said.

“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,” said Mick Wilkes, president and CEO. “The Waihi operation has had a long, rich history of operating to the highest of environmental and social standards globally while contributing significant socioeconomic benefits to Waihi and the country.

“We are excited to be granted the consents and for the opportunity to continue over 140 years of gold mining history at Waihi.”

The company has started preparing management plans and detailed mine designs to allow mining operations to begin, which will include stope and infrastructure development. It expects that at full rate at Martha, the Waihi operation production would return to more recent historic levels.

During the ramp-up phase, the OceanaGold will continue to drill the Martha Underground targets using four diamond rigs from the two underground drill drives located beneath the Martha open pit to further discover and add resources. Based on studies and exploration to-date, the company has an exploration target of between 5 million and 8 million metric tons (mt) grading 4 grams (g) to 6 g per mt (g/mt) within the Martha Underground. As of August 9, 2018, the Martha Underground hosted a measured and indicated (M&I) resource of 140,000 ounces (oz) of gold and an inferred resource of approximately 339,000 oz 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 m in 2019 to further test the exploration target.

“OceanaGold has been proudly operating in New Zealand since 1990 and the Waihi mine has been in operation in its current form since 1988,” Wilkes said. “We have a strong, dedicated and values-driven workforce that are proud Kiwis making a significant positive impact in their respective communities. New Zealand is a template for responsible hard rock mining, clearly demonstrated by the success we’ve had at Macraes, Waihi and Reefton gold mines.”