OceanaGold Corp. said it has received the mining permit for Wharekirauponga (WKP) on the North Island of New Zealand. The mining permit grants OceanaGold the exclusive right to the WKP mineral resource, allowing the company to continue exploration activities and technical and environmental studies over the permitted area.

“Receipt of the mining permit is an important step in the permitting phase for WKP,” said Michael Holmes, president and CEO, OceanaGold. “As part of the greater Waihi District Study, the WKP deposit is expected to deliver significant value and we expect to continue drilling there for several years to come as we advance the project through its life cycle.” WKP currently has reported indicated resources of 421,000 ounces (oz) of gold at 13.4 grams per metric ton (g/mt) and inferred resources of 717,000 oz of gold at 12 g/mt.

“We are assessing the option of WKP as a state-of-the-art underground mining operation,” Holmes said. “The Waihi District has the potential to extend Waihi’s mine life to 2036 and beyond while providing meaningful socio-economic benefits for stakeholders.”

WKP is 10 km north of the existing Waihi processing plant. Based on the recently completed Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) for the Waihi District, the company envisages underground mining at WKP and first production in 2026 with processing taking place at the existing Waihi plant. Over the currently estimated life of mine, WKP is expected to produce 190,000 to 230,000 oz of gold annually.