OceanaGold Corp. has produced first gold at Martha Underground (MUG).

The company said it achieved first gold production from MUG after progressing development by nearly 7.5 kilometers (km) in 2020. Mining of MUG continues to ramp-up with additional production expected in the first quarter ahead of the installation of a new SAG mill shell, which is scheduled to be completed in the second quarter. The company continues to expect Waihi to produce between 35,000 ounces (oz) and 45,000 oz of gold in 2021.

Mining from MUG will continue to ramp up with ore stockpiled ahead of continuous milling recommencing late in the second quarter of 2021. The company expects to complete the first full stope at the end of the first quarter before increasing average mining rates to between 30,000 metric tons (mt) and 35,000 mt per month in the second half of the year. Development continues at MUG as the company targets a steady-state annual gold production rate of 90,000 oz to 100,000 oz gold plus silver. The MUG feasibility study, including the initial mineral reserve, is due for completion late in the first quarter.

“We are very pleased with the progress we have made at Martha Underground where we have achieved first gold production and expect steady-state in the second half of the year,” President and CEO Michael Holmes said. “We will continue to batch process MUG ore this month ahead of the planned mill shutdown to install a new SAG mill shell, which remains on schedule for completion in late second quarter. Once completed, we expect underground production to sustain continuous milling.”

The company announced an increase in the indicated resource to 1 million oz of gold grading 5.2 grams/t; an increase of 36% representing the addition of approximately 260,000 oz of gold. The increase in indicated resource underpins the minimum 10-year mine life targeted for MUG.