Haile gold mine’s grinding circuit.

Update: On January 20, OceanaGold Corp. announced first gold production at the Haile gold mine. The operation poured its first gold doré bars totaling 445 ounces. 

“The first gold pour at Haile is another significant achievement for the company, the valued communities of Kershaw and Lancaster, and the state of South Carolina,” said Mick Wilkes, president and CEO of OceanaGold. “This achievement marks the first gold production from the Haile gold mine in 25 years, and nearly 190 years since gold was first produced there.”

The company expects to move into commercial production early in the second quarter of this year.

Fifteen months since taking ownership of the Haile gold mine, OceanaGold announced in late December the milling of ore had begun at the site. The Haile gold mine is located in Lancaster, South Carolina.

“This milestone represents a special moment in the history of the Haile gold mine as this historic goldfield is re-established with a world-class modern mining operation in Lancaster county, South Carolina,” Mick Wilkes, president and CEO said. “From the start of the year, we established a firm timeline of key milestones that we have achieved throughout the year, culminating in the start of milling ore at year-end as planned.”

In early October, the company commenced dry commissioning by focusing initially on the crushing circuit and emergency stockpile system. Since then, the grinding, carbon-in-leach (CIL) and tailings circuits have been commissioned to treat oxide and transition ores. Construction of the flotation and fine grinding circuits are now complete and commissioning of these circuits to treat sulphide ore is planned to occur over the next couple of weeks.

OceanaGold currently has approximately 675,000 metric tons (mt) of ore stockpiled on the surface including 275,000 mt grading 2.3 g/t of sulphide ore, 245,000 mt grading 0.6 g/t of oxide ore and 155,000 mt grading 1.1 g/t of transitional material.

The company expects to produce 150,000 to 170,000 ounces of gold at Haile in 2017 at all-in sustaining costs between $500 to $550 per ounce. The company will continue to advance the Haile Expansion study with results expected in the middle of 2017.