At OceanaGold, we’re committed to the full mining lifecycle, including mine closure, full environmental restoration and relinquishment to landowners. Extending beyond just the physical environment, we work with host communities and other stakeholders to create a positive legacy and support shared values and opportunities in the communities that host our operations.

So, when our Globe Progress Mine – just outside Reefton in New Zealand’s South Island – closed and became the Reefton Restoration Project, we continued supporting community initiatives that aligned with community priorities.

In 2019, we partnered with the Buller District Council to fund a Socio-Economic Development Officer (SEDO) position for three years. The position was established to focus on community funding, partnerships and projects that extend economic diversification activities in Reefton.

The role was awarded to Reefton local, Rachel Fifield, who has since worked with the town’s businesses and community organisations to establish a number of development initiatives.

OceanaGold General Manager for Projects, David Bickerton, said Rachel’s local knowledge and broad community experience have proved invaluable in promoting and helping develop a range of initiatives.

“Being in the SEDO role, Rachel has been able to provide advice and assistance to a number of local groups seeking funding and organising events. Rachel has also helped attract new business into town, locals into employment, and has been the driving force behind a number a town beautification and enhancement projects,” David said.

“We’re pleased to be able to support the SEDO role and proud of the results Rachel has been able to achieve for the Reefton community,” he said.

Local groups have appreciated what Rachel has been able to achieve. Here’s some feedback from a few of the organisations Rachel has worked with in Reefton.

Pat Russell, from the Blacks Point Museum, said the museum has appreciated Rachel’s ideas and assistance with funding applications.

“Rachel has provided information and assistance which allowed us to apply for funding we desperately needed and would not otherwise have known about or have been confident applying for.  We have been successful with four applications and have more pending. Rachel is inspirational and a powerhouse of knowledge. When we were struggling to stay open, she worked with us to plan for the future, with lots of new ideas,” Pat said.

Paul Densem, from PD Plastering & Painting, said Rachel connected him to the right agencies when he was looking for staff and helped him with funding applications.

“I could keep doing my job while she worked for me. I couldn’t have done this on my own,” Paul said.

Zie Rosanowski, from the Reefton Netball Club, said Rachel approached them to let them know there was financial assistance available for club transport expenses through the Rural Travel Fund.

“I didn’t know this fund existed, but with Rachel’s help we have funding to support our members participate in regular local sporting competitions,” Zie said.

Richard Negus, from Fusion Events who organise the Resilience Ultramarathon, said Rachel put them in touch with local business owners and key stakeholders who are supporting the event, which will take place in Reefton in August.

“Rachel and the support we’ve received from Reefton has been instrumental in getting the event off the ground and they continue to support us,” Richard said.

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