When OceanaGold began operating the Globe Progress Mine in Forest Park near Reefton in 2007, it was done so with the condition that the company would rehabilitate the area, re-establishing the ecosystem with native plants, after mining was completed.
At the forefront of this work is Megan Williams, the Environmental Advisor who supports the restoration project to ensure it is on track.
“The ultimate goal is to leave a site that we have restored as best as we can with the most up to date technology”, says Williams. “I want the work here to reflect that we didn’t take any shortcuts and that OceanaGold takes the environmental side of gold mining seriously”.
To date more than 800,000 trees have been planted on the site comprising silver beach, mountain beach, red beach and Manuka.
The establishment of a clean and functioning wetland has been a highlight of the project to date, as not only flora and fauna have thrived but so too have native wildlife.
“The wetland plants have done better than we originally thought and in a shorter time frame”, explains Williams. “It’s been amazing to see the return of native species to make this their home”.
The project is shaping significant progress and earlier this year public consultation began on how best for the area to be used moving forward where it will be returned to public ownership through the Department of Conservation.
“Long after OceanaGold leaves the site I believe people will be surprised to think that a gold mine was ever here” states Williams.