On Friday 19 August, OceanaGold welcomed the news that the United States Army Corp of Engineers (“ACOE”) had published the Supplementary Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for the Haile Gold Mine located in Kershaw, South Carolina. What will the expanded operations look like, and what does it mean for the local community?
The publishing of the SEIS has been heralded as an important step in the future of OceanaGold’s Haile Gold Mine.
Now in a 30-day public comment period, the SEIS will undergo a 15-day review period before the final Record of Decision (ROD) is scheduled to be issued.
The ROD and related permits are required to commence development of the Haile underground mine and to expand the operating footprint to allow for additional potentially-acid-generating waste containment facilities, overburden facilities and expanded tailings storage facility.
The proposed expansion includes:
• Development of the Horseshoe Underground (HUG)
• Optimising mill operations to increase capacity from 9,100 tonnes per day to 14,400 tonnes per day
• Expanding the permitted boundary from 4,552 to 5,384 acres
• Increasing Tailings Storage Facility (TSF) capacity from 40 million tonnes to 72 million tonnes
• Increasing Potentially Acid Generating (PAG) storage from 100.1 million tonnes to 150.1 million tonnes
• Increasing overburden storage areas (OSA) from 147.5 million tonnes to approximately 207 million tonnes
• Expanding the average capacity of the Water Treatment Plant (WTP) from 1,200 gallons per minute to 2,400 gallons per minute.
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Americas, David Londono, said publication of the SEIS was a significant milestone for the Company and the community that hosts the Haile Gold Mine.
“Development of the SEIS commenced in 2018 and contained information about the geology, water resources, soils, wetlands, socioeconomics, public health and safety, cultural resources, and other impacts as it relates to proposed expansion,” Mr Londono said.
“We are thrilled to now be moving to the next stage in the permitting process to secure the future of the mine by moving our operations underground and extending its life to 2034.”
Mr Londono said pending approvals, the expanded mine would deliver many local benefits that extended across the supply chain and included direct employment with the mine.
“To deliver the expansion and associated infrastructure, we expect to employ approximately 200 additional people, and we hope the majority of those jobs can be created for people living in Kershaw and the broader Lancaster County.
“It’s been a long time coming, but the SEIS is well considered, and we anticipate it moving forward as it has been published.“Soon we will see the long-term benefits of having a global miner in our region – and that’s something we should be excited about.”