In late 2019 the Waitaki District Council moved to register the Waitaki Whitestone Geopark under the UNSECO geopark program.
The geopark registration is focused around geology, education and culture and brings those three aspects together to celebrate the uniqueness of the Waitaki geological region.
The proposed geopark will encompass the entire Waitaki District, including the fossils of Vanished World and the OceanaGold Macraes Operation. The Macraes Mine sits in the southern section of the proposed Geopark and offers a fantastic opportunity for educating the community (and tourists) on geology and how mining can be conducted in a responsible manner.
To oversee the development of the geopark and undertake the bid for the UNESCO registration, a WWG Trust was established in August 2018 with the Macraes Operation as a founding partner.
The Macraes Operation is a fantastic example of the geology of the district, hence why the mine has the potential to become a focus for the geopark, and to support significant development at a regional scale. Gerard Quinn, Regional Development Manager at Waitaki District Council has said, “We recognise that a sustainable economy will still need extraction of resources from the earth. Aside for the direct use of these natural resources, if land is used in a sustainable manner it will also provide benefits in the terms of employment and other economic and social opportunities. This is why the Trust is very happy to have OceanaGold as a founding partner.”
This opportunity aligns with the environment and community values OceanaGold is focused on achieving and represents the mine’s intention to support the local and wider community into the future.
The WWG will increase tourism in the region and provide an opportunity to increase geological education in the community.