OceanaGold Corp. reported that it has mined first development ore from the Horseshoe Underground and is on track to deliver first stope ore in October at its Haile gold mine in South Carolina, USA. “The team has done a tremendous job in planning and safely executing the work to deliver this important growth project,” said Gerard Bond, president and CEO of OceanaGold. “We remain on track to have first stoping ore in October and will then ramp up to full target mining rates through the first half of 2024.”

Development of Horseshoe Underground has progressed with approximately 2,230 m of total development to date. Lateral development is well advanced on the 1025 and 1000 levels, and the decline has progressed down to the 975 level. Development ore equating to roughly 3,800 metric tons (mt) from the 1025 level has been mined and currently stockpiled on the surface for processing.

Three stopes are planned to be mined in 2023, commencing in October. Stopes sizes range from 25,000 to 35,000 mt and will be initially mined on the 1000 and 975 levels, with total stope ore production expected to contribute approximately 90,000 mt to the mine plan in 2023. Underground stoping is expected to ramp-up in the fourth quarter and reach the full target mining rate by mid-2024.

The short term mine plan at Haile was adversely impacted by negative grade reconciliation in the lower levels of the Mill Zone pit. The company now expects Haile’s Q3 2023 gold production to be approximately 23,000 oz, and full-year production to be around 25,000 oz lower than 2023 guidance.

“Although mining from the Mill Zone in 2023 has been disappointing through the second and third quarters, the reconciliation challenges encountered are in a localized area,” said David Londono, COO Americas for OceanaGold. “We remain confident in our long-term production profile for the [Haile] mine, particularly with Horseshoe Underground becoming a meaningful contributor in 2024 and beyond.”

Mining at the Mill Zone pit was completed in August 2023 and has shifted to stripping for Ledbetter Phase II. During the transition between pits, material to the mill is being fed from surface stockpiles, with Horseshoe Underground and Ledbetter open-pit progressively providing ore for processing in Q4 2023.