As part of OceanaGold’s biodiversity studies supporting the proposed Waihi North Project, one of New Zealand’s living fossils has received some of its most in-depth attention to date.

The Archey’s frog is a living fossil, largely un-evolved from 150 million years ago, and is one of New Zealand’s only native frog species.

The endangered species is about the size of your thumbnail and is currently found in only three locations throughout the Waikato.

One of those locations is Wharekirauponga, where OceanaGold’s Waihi Operation is proposing to develop an underground gold mine.

As part of the mine consenting process OceanaGold has to provide enough information to demonstrate that the proposed mining activity will not have a negative impact on the frogs habitat and population.

With limited existing research to give insight, OceanaGold has assembled a team of highly experienced conservationists to get to know the species better than ever.

What has resulted is some of the most insightful research collected on the species to date and literally seeing more than ever before of this notoriously hard to find amphibian in its natural environment.
“It has to have been raining, reasonably warm and at night before they show themselves”, says Cassie McArthur, OceanaGold Senior Environmental Advisor. “You think you’re never going to find them and then there they are!”

Cassie, a former Department of Conservation ranger, has been deeply involved in the study on the frog species for the past two years.

“Before we started this work there had only been limited and sporadic research, but now our understanding has grown exponentially. OceanaGold’s commitment to preservation and bio-diversity means we now have the knowledge and resources to ensure clear ways to protect and help see the Archey’s frog thrive”.

Fresh research to support New Zealand’s rarest frog
Fresh research to support New Zealand’s rarest frog
New vehicle revs up Waihī LandSAR
New vehicle revs up Waihī LandSAR
Putting young people in the driver’s seat
Putting young people in the driver’s seat

This article was originally published in The Valley Profile in June 2022:  https://www.valleyprofile.co.nz/2022/06/22/new-vehicle-revs-up-waihi-landsar/

Waihī LandSAR can now tackle tough terrain for search and rescue in a new ute donated by OceanaGold.

Waihī LandSAR is a group of 24 volunteers available 24/7 to undertake search and rescue missions in Waihī and other urban and remote areas in Waikato and Bay of Plenty.
Chairman Darren Butler told The Profile the new four wheel drive dual cab ute would be a “huge asset” for the group.

“We do quite a bit of travel out of the area to assist with neighbouring search operations and regional training… but up until now we’ve all just relied on our own personal vehicles for transport to get anywhere. So to have a group vehicle available is a huge asset,” he said.
“[It] reduces the burden on the individuals… and being four wheel drive we get to do the areas that are out in the middle of nowhere so the four wheel drive side of things will be absolutely great for us.”

Darren said OceanaGold’s generosity to donate the ute to Waihī LandSAR, which had undertaken around five search and rescue missions this year, was “greatly appreciated.”

“Any income we get we need to fundraise ourselves… if [the new ute] wasn’t going to be from a donation, we probably couldn’t afford to go purchasing it and certainly nothing to the calibre of the vehicle they’ve just given us, so greatly appreciated,” he said.

Darren said the next step was to get a canopy, deck liner and towbar for the new ute to carry specialised equipment, which included stretchers and ropes.

OceanaGold said it won the ute in a Farm Source promotion and after recognising other organisations would benefit from the vehicle, decided to donate it to Waihī LandSAR due to its strong local presence and dedicated team of volunteers.

OceanaGold general manager operations Matt Hine said LandSar devoted hundreds of hours each year, with responses ranging from searching for lost hikers to helping locate family members suffering Dementia or Alzheimers.

“It’s a fantastic organisation which at its core represents reuniting loved ones [and] OceanaGold in conjunction with Waihī Farm Source are proud to support their ongoing work through the donation of the vehicle,” he said.

Fresh research to support New Zealand’s rarest frog
Fresh research to support New Zealand’s rarest frog
New vehicle revs up Waihī LandSAR
New vehicle revs up Waihī LandSAR
Putting young people in the driver’s seat
Putting young people in the driver’s seat

In regional centres, not having a driver licence can be a real barrier to employment for young people. That’s why OceanaGold’s Waihi Operation is partnering with the new Jumpstart initiative to support Waihi students to get their full licence.

The Jumpstart Navigator program is a partnership between OceanaGold, Waihi College, local Police, Waihi community members and Blue Light – a charity that works with Police to help local young people – and has been designed for young people who may not have access to a reliable vehicle or no licenced adult to teach them how to drive.

Waihi Operation Community Development Advisor, Phil Salmon, said the Jumpstart was launched in February, after discussions with Waihi College about how OceanaGold could provide additional support for students transitioning to work.

“New Zealand has a graduated driver licensing system which means drivers move from a learner to a restricted and then a full licence over two years,” Phil said.

“While the system is designed to help train safe drivers, it can be difficult for young people who do not have regular access to a vehicle or someone to supervise them,” he said.

“The young people who face these barriers are often at-risk youth, and not having a driver’s licence can further perpetuate this by severely limiting employment opportunities.”

Waihi College Careers Co-ordinator, Carolyn Graveson, said without a licence, many young people, especially those in rural areas like Waihi, with no public transport, were disadvantaged.

“It means these students can’t drive a vehicle to work or to a training provider,” Carolyn said.

“Many jobs require a licence before they will employ you, so a program like Jumpstart can have a real, local impact,” she said.

Hauraki District Council Community Employment Liaison Officer, Julie Stephenson, said with the Jumpstart program, Waihi College students got driver training during school hours in a vehicle provided and maintained by OceanaGold.

“To date, eight community members have been trained as Navigators and are rostered on for two hours each week to drive with Waihi College students,” Julie said.

We have 23 students on the course, with over 100 hours of driver training delivered in the first two months,” she said.

“OceanaGold provides and maintains the vehicle, Waihi College organises the driving schedule, Blue Light staff train the Navigator and Waihi students benefit. It’s a great program.”

Hamish is the first Waihi College student to gain his Restricted Licence through the program and said it had been a huge help.

“The program helped get my driving confidence up. I had a lot more time on the road, and the Navigators gave me some great advice that really helped me pass my test,” Hamish said.

Fresh research to support New Zealand’s rarest frog
Fresh research to support New Zealand’s rarest frog
New vehicle revs up Waihī LandSAR
New vehicle revs up Waihī LandSAR
Putting young people in the driver’s seat
Putting young people in the driver’s seat

Over the past three years, OceanaGold has placed huge emphasis on building constructive culture and ensuring its workplaces are psychologically safe. From bolstering its leadership programs, to establishing more inclusive workplace facilities and gaining direct insights from employees, the company is focused on safeguarding – and strengthening – its unique culture.

There has been a stark shift in focus across the mining sector in recent years to place just as much emphasis on the psychological safety and broader health and wellbeing of employees, and not just their physical safety in the workplace.

Psychological safety at work refers to the notion that employees will not be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns, and mistakes. Instead, it nurtures and welcomes experiences, opinions, and beliefs that contribute to a more inclusive workplace.

Inclusive workplaces also drive greater innovation, productivity, performance and ultimately shareholder value.

Executive Vice President and Chief Officer People, Culture and Technology, Graham Almond, said in simple terms, a psychologically safe workplace meant employees could bring their whole selves to work and in turn, help to shape OceanaGold as a work destination of choice.

“Our focus is establishing a sense of belonging, where our people bring out the best in each other, in an environment that fosters diversity, inclusion and creativity, and a culture that encourages people to speak up about behaviour that does not align with our values. This is the commencement of a journey, but we are already seeing the positive impacts of the work done to date,” Mr Almond said.

OceanaGold’s journey to an inclusive culture began in 2019, with its approach cemented in the People & Culture Strategy 2020-2024. The strategy outlines the company’s culture target which aims to ensure that all employees, globally, feel a genuine sense of belonging to a workplace that is built on all the cornerstones of constructive culture: collaboration, cooperation, personal growth, development, curiosity, achievement of goals and alignment of purpose.

As part of this strategy, the company established inclusive culture training, which will be completed by every employee across its global operations. The company also developed a bespoke eLearning module, with real world examples, to build knowledge and skills for all employees in understanding what inclusive culture means, the behaviours that contribute and do not contribute to an inclusive culture, and why speaking up is so important.

Leadership is also a huge focus for the company, with current and future leaders participating in a variety of training centred around what it means to be a values-based, constructive, and capable leader.

“This includes contemporary tools and techniques that enable a constructive culture. For example, the latest module includes a chapter about creating psychological safety for their teams,” Mr Almond said.

To help the company understand if they are on the right track, OceanaGold obtains formal feedback from employees every six months through Culture Pulse surveys, which asks for feedback on the six most impactful casual factors that drive constructive culture for the company, which in turn, promote inclusion:

  1. Teamwork: the extent to which leaders encourage working as a team, and being supportive and cooperative
  2. Completing tasks: the extent to which leaders help their team members to solve problems
  3. Goals: the extent to which leaders set clear expectations
  4. Consideration: the extent to which leaders are personally supportive and considerate
  5. Downward communication the effectiveness with which corporate information is communicated by leaders to employees
  6. Upward communication: the effectiveness of how leaders respond and handle the information they receive from their teams.

These pulse surveys, taken since July 2020, demonstrate continued and marked improvement in OceanaGold’s culture. The greatest improvements have been in consideration by leaders and both downward and upward communication with leaders (e.g., employees’ feeling safe to speak up).

“Leadership is our biggest leaver in driving cultural change. While we’re pleased by progress to date, we know there is still plenty of work to be done,” Mr Almond said.”

OceanaGold also has a company-wide Fair Employment Committee which addresses topics such diversity, equity and inclusion. The Committee is tasked with identifying a series of  strategic challenges each year to ensure the company is always working toward being an employment destination of choice. In 2021, the Committee focused on creating opportunities to improve diversity and inclusion and the focus for 2022 is ensuring a psychologically safe work environment.

Mr Almond, who chairs the committee, said it was made up of 12 people from across the company.

“Committee members are empowered to look into their work location, assess the strategic questions and make recommendations to the Executive Leadership Team. Approved scopes of work then fall into the next year’s People and Culture Workplan and diversity, equity and inclusion objectives,” he said.

It’s hands on, but I love the passion of the Committee living our values and desire to make a difference.”

The value we bring, and create, at OceanaGold
The value we bring, and create, at OceanaGold
Employee testimonial: Justin Johns, Waihi Operation Process Manager
Employee testimonial: Justin Johns, Waihi Operation Process Manager
Creating a workplace destination of choice by fostering belonging
Creating a workplace destination of choice by fostering belonging

A three-year partnership between OceanaGold and the University of Queensland (UQ) has included looking into the impacts of mining and mine site closure on First Nations People. The result – one of the first globally recognised industry research papers that affirmed, connected and elevated the voices of Indigenous leaders.

More than 40 First Nations people and affiliated researchers from across New Zealand, Canada and Australia came together last November to discuss the impacts of mining and mine site closure on their lands.

The Indigenous Exchange Forum: Transitions in Mine Closure was the culmination of many discussions by the Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining (CSRM) Social Aspects of Mine Closure Research Consortium, of which OceanaGold is a founding member.

The Consortium was established in 2019 to conduct research that challenges accepted industry norms and practices and demands new approaches that place people at the centre of mine closure.

Senior Research Fellow at the University of Queensland, Dr Sarah Holcombe, said the purpose of the Forum was to build an international network across Indigenous communities to enable the sharing of experiences, struggles, and sentiments in relation to mine site transition and mine-related impacts on their lands.

“The Forum was an opportunity for Indigenous people to come together in a safe, open environment where all views were listened to and nothing was off the table,” Dr Holcombe said.

“For some of the participants, there was a lot of hurt and emotion shared, and for others it provided an opportunity to learn about best practice engagement that offered insights into new ways for industry and First Nations people to work together,” she said.

“By sharing stories, experiences, and the journey they have been on, the participants reaffirmed the need for intergenerational healing – or possibilities for healing.”

Multiple Māori iwi – the customary land-holding family groups – in Aotearoa, New Zealand who have rights and interests over OceanaGold’s three mine sites (the Waihi and Macraes Operations and Reefton Restoration Project), participated in the Forum.

“Collectively, the participants shared powerful insights about their experiences with the mines in the context of frontier battles, settler colonialism, and mine closure,” Dr Holcombe said.

“This included connection to Country, experiences of past mine closure, and concerns, expectations and aspirations about forthcoming closure.”

OceanaGold EVP – Sustainability, Sharon Flynn, said continuous improvement in social performance, and in particular, iwi and community engagement, was ingrained in the company’s culture.

“As a responsible miner, we own our past, our present and our future. And, by being an active member of the CSRM, we have participated in projects that have allowed for direct and unfiltered feedback, which have positively challenged our company, and are key to our growth in the future,” Sharon said.

OceanaGold is guided by an External Affairs and Social Performance Manual, which outlines policies and processes to identify and analyse how the company impacts the communities where it operates. Importantly, it guides the company to align its operational performance with local aspirations, values and cultures.

“We are on a journey of continuous improvement, and we understand that involves learning from the past, creating space for healing, and establishing collaborative and respectful engagement processes that deliver mutual outcomes,” Sharon said.

While Dr Holcombe noted that “what we’ve learned from this research, and the Forum in particular, is that mine closure offers an opportunity to mend and reset relationships. It’s never too late to start that journey.”

“There’s a legacy mining companies must take on board as part of their social performance, and continuous and close engagement with First Nations people forms part of that important process, especially in the transition from operations to closure,” Dr Holcombe said.

“The Forum dialogue echoed that sentiment. As a collective, the participants affirmed their willingness and commitment to continue to share, culturally connect and realise a way forward that is informed by intergenerational First Nation impacts,” she said.

“For mining companies, developing long-term governance systems that are culturally informed is a crucial step.”

Read the full report here.

Fresh research to support New Zealand’s rarest frog
Fresh research to support New Zealand’s rarest frog
New vehicle revs up Waihī LandSAR
New vehicle revs up Waihī LandSAR
Putting young people in the driver’s seat
Putting young people in the driver’s seat

Historic progress for saving the Carolina Heelsplitter is underway in Lancaster County.

The Carolina Heelsplitter – a freshwater mussel – is one of the rarest species on the planet. Now, thanks to collective work led by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and funded by the Haile Gold Mine, the Carolina Heelsplitter has a better chance at survival than it has had in decades.

Morgan Wolf, is the USFWS’ lead National Recovery Biologist for the Carolina Heelsplitter project. For the past several years, Morgan and her team have been working hard to save this critical species.

In 2017, for the first time in recorded history, they released the initial batch of lab-raised heelsplitters in Flat Creek. In October 2021, Wolf and fellow agents were back again, carefully trekking the calm Flat Creek waters in search of a stable area to introduce 559 juvenile heelsplitters.

“Flat Creek provides the clean, well-oxygenated water needed for nourishment. This area contains some of the best remaining habitat for the species known to exist,” Morgan said.

Each juvenile Heelsplitter is raised at the Orangeburg Mussel Conservation Center (OMCC) through a program responsible for propagating the endangered species. The project, which began in 2015, included the challenge of figuring out how to emulate the reproduction process.

The female’s fertilized eggs are released into the water to find and attach to a specific fish species during the phase. The larvae remain attached for weeks while drawing nourishment from their unharmed host. Once developed into juveniles, the heelsplitter drops off the fish and settles to the bottom of the stream.

If it’s an area supportive to Heelsplitter, they will continue to grow. Habitat or water quality issues will hinder development, and they won’t be able to reproduce, eventually dying out. Figuring out how to replicate the reproduction process in a lab was difficult.

Thankfully, the USFWS and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources worked together to solve the puzzle. The 559 mussels released in October joined more than 1,000 others released into river basins in the Pee Dee, Saluda, Savannah, and Catawba regions.

Morgan calls the OMCC a “game-changer” for species recovery. “It allows us to produce animals in South Carolina, near heelsplitter occupied habitats for the first time ever,” she said.

Haile Gold Mine funding was one of the main components leading to the program’s establishment. As part of Haile’s Conservation Management Plan for impacts to local waters, the company committed a $3.7 million endowment divided into annual contributions for the Carolina Heelsplitter. Approximately $1.6 million has been provided for the program since 2015.

“This endowment is a substantial contribution to propagation and research efforts for the species for the foreseeable future,” Morgan said.

Haile also supports the project by fostering some of the best remaining habitats for the heelsplitter known to exist. Juveniles released in October were stocked on the lower portion of Flat Creek, property Haile once owned before the company donated it to the Katawba Valley Land Trust.

“We respect and strive to protect our natural environments where we work,” Haile Gold Mine Executive General Manager, David Londono, said. “The Haile Gold Mine team will continue to work with the USFWS and other supporting agencies to hopefully one day enjoy the Heelsplitters flourishing on their own.”

Healthy habitats are critical to the heelsplitter’s future and access to the areas helps to augment population numbers and monitor the program’s success. Morgan said at least one heelsplitter population in the state is augmented each year.

“While our propagation efforts may be successful, recovery is limited by suitable stream habitat in which to place animals, and also the willingness of private landowners to allow augmentation on their lands,” she said.

Fish and Wildlife consistently battles against negative factors such as climate change, deforestation, permitted and non-permitted discharges into streams, and other problems that threatens the species.  For more information on the Carolina Heelsplitter visit https://www.fws.gov/species/carolina-heelsplitter-lasmigona-decorata.

Fresh research to support New Zealand’s rarest frog
Fresh research to support New Zealand’s rarest frog
New vehicle revs up Waihī LandSAR
New vehicle revs up Waihī LandSAR
Putting young people in the driver’s seat
Putting young people in the driver’s seat

Governments and business around the world face growing expectations to deliver a net zero global carbon economy by 2050, in line with the 2015 Paris Agreement. Today, business analysts, investors, insurers and consumers not only expect to see a net zero commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 2050, but also a deliberate, staged and defensible plan to deliver emissions reductions over time to achieve the 2050 goal.

In 2020, OceanaGold committed to achieving net zero greenhouse emissions by 2050. During 2021, operational and corporate sustainability teams worked together to identify specific actions to reduce emissions across the company – taking into account the projects already underway, emerging technologies and actions by governments to increase renewables in their power grids.

In February 2022, the OceanaGold Board approved an interim target to reduce carbon emissions per ounce of gold produced by 30 per cent by 2030 (based on 2019 performance levels). This interim climate change target is based on a clear action plan to help reach OceanaGold’s goal to net zero operational greenhouse emissions by 2050.

Decarbonisation in the mining industry

Decarbonisation is seen as a major disrupter in the mining and metals industry and according to Ernst and Young’s latest mining sector report (Top mining and metals risks and opportunities in 2022), it is in the top three business risks for 2022.

The World Gold Council (WGC) has recognised the need for strong action within the industry, identifying four key focus areas to manage greenhouse gas emissions – decarbonisation of mobile equipment fleet, decarbonisation of electricity supply, energy efficiency in the static plant, and carbon capture, sequestration, and offsets.

The company had developed an emissions reduction strategy to provide a pathway to maintain focus and build capability in emissions management across the organisation – with a focus on three of these areas; decarbonisation of the mobile equipment, increased use of renewable energy, and energy use/energy efficiency improvements.

A non-linear approach to net zero

OceanaGold General Manager for Health, Safety and Environment, Greg Scanlan, said the 2030 target was determined following industry benchmarking, the establishment of an emissions intensity baseline, and identification of reduction opportunities at an operational level.

“The pathway to deliver the 2030 target will need to adapt given actual performance, increasing regulatory and market pressures, rapidly changing technology and as frameworks for measuring and reporting are adapted and developed,” Greg said.

“There is a long way to go to net zero and our journey won’t be linear. Our interim 2030 climate change targets will help drive focus and innovation across the company, meet our stakeholders’ expectations and set a challenging but achievable pathway in line with industry targets.”

“In 2019 (our baseline year), OceanaGold generated 0.52 tonnes of CO2e per ounce of gold produced, lower than the industry average of 0.8 tonnes of CO2e  per ounce of gold produced, as reported by the World Gold Council.”

Technology and innovation key to decarbonisation

As a responsible miner, OceanaGold continuously improves and innovates the way it explores, extracts and processes minerals, drawing on the latest advanced technology and systems to improve performance.

Clear actions are required to reach decarbonisation and rapid advances in technology and innovation, including electrification, are central to the mining industry’s commitment to reducing its environmental impact.

“We are on an exciting journey of innovation and transformation in an industry which is vital to us all as we transition to a low-carbon world. Since 2018, OceanaGold has been implementing a company-wide program of automation, digital and process transformation, which is helping our company define the journey to operate the mines of the future,” Greg said.

In line with the interim 2030 target, OceanaGold has developed an internal reporting and visualisation tool (dashboard) that will improve tracking of its emissions in close to real time, support operational decision-making and maintain a focus on the performance of each operation.

Clear actions to reduce impact

“Our strategy supports an adaptive approach to driving emissions reduction by providing flexibility within the plan to respond to emergent opportunities, lessons learned at other sites, and evolving organisational priorities,” Greg said.

“The primary focus will be around decreasing the carbon intensity from our electricity suppliers, which is achievable through an increased focus on the purchase of renewable energy, through national government initiatives to encourage and mandate greening of grid electricity.”

The company will also be seeking to identify and accelerate decarbonising its mobile equipment fleet. Displacing or reducing diesel as the primary fuel for mining equipment, with a view to implement electrification and the use of alternative fuels such as biodiesel, hydrogen and emerging (hybrid) technology.

“OceanaGold will reduce energy use throughout its operation by reducing energy losses, using solar lighting wherever possible, and improving equipment use efficiency,” Greg said.

“By the end of June 2022 all operations will have completed negotiations with their current electricity supplier to maximise the renewable energy component of supply broadly consistent with current commercial costs.”

Fresh research to support New Zealand’s rarest frog
Fresh research to support New Zealand’s rarest frog
New vehicle revs up Waihī LandSAR
New vehicle revs up Waihī LandSAR
Putting young people in the driver’s seat
Putting young people in the driver’s seat

This article was originally published in the Otago Daily Times in March 2022: https://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/just-mars-rover-inspiration

Farmers – if you discover a six-wheeled robot terrifying your sheep in the Macraes area, do not panic. It just means Mark Campbell’s rover has suffered a minor technical fault.

The 15-year-old Logan Park High School pupil has built a fully functioning rover which is operating in an unused area of the OceanaGold Macraes Operation in East Otago and is being managed remotely from his Dunedin home via a 3G connection.

“It’s solar powered and it’s autonomous. All I have to do is put some points on a map on my laptop, and it will drive there by itself.”

It can drive for up to 11 hours each day. It also has a real-time camera and a time-lapse camera that takes a photo every 60 seconds which allows him to see the rover’s daily movements concisely.

Trials of his rover started around his home, then moved to the streets of Dunedin, and now it is navigating Martian-type terrain at Macraes.

“Originally, I was just looking at the Mars Rovers on YouTube and I thought that was pretty cool.

“Then I wanted to give it a crack myself. I started buying parts online and just started doing it.”

He said he did a lot of research online for designs and had spent the past two years bringing the rover to fruition using his own money (leveraged with in-kind funding from his parents), Otago Institute science fair prize money and a Ministry of Education grant.

 Mark was delighted when Macraes mine bosses allowed him to set up his rover in an unused part of the mine and was confident it would remain in the confines of the allotted space.

“The ground’s really loose and the gravel just slides underneath the wheels and it’s a big open area so there’s lots of room to drive around without being run over by one of those big dump trucks.

“Originally, I did this just for fun – achieving the goal of just being able to drive purely off solar power.

“I thought that was pretty out-of-reach for me, but it actually wasn’t.”

He now has ambitions of working for a tech company that builds robots and rovers which could explore other planets in our solar system.

“It would definitely be cool to work in that field.”

Fresh research to support New Zealand’s rarest frog
Fresh research to support New Zealand’s rarest frog
New vehicle revs up Waihī LandSAR
New vehicle revs up Waihī LandSAR
Putting young people in the driver’s seat
Putting young people in the driver’s seat

OceanaGold is well on its way to have a process in place to conform with the World Gold Council’s Responsible Gold Mining Principles (RGMPs).

OceanaGold’s General Manager for Health, Safety and Environment, Greg Scanlan, said OceanaGold was closing out the second year of a three-year preparedness program, and was working to demonstrate conformance with the RGMPs by September this year.

“In 2021, each World Gold Council member company was required to complete a self-assessment, to identify the gaps remaining to conform to the RGMPs,” Greg said.

“This gap assessment helped identify conformance and areas for continuous improvement around environment, social and governance (ESG) internal systems and processes,” he said.

“The second-year self-assessment process was then validated through external assurance in September 2021, to confirm OceanaGold continues to progress our first-year corrective action plans against identified continuous improvement opportunities. ”

“OceanaGold has a strong commitment to sustainable practices across its Global operations and prides itself as a strong ESG performer. We see conformance to the RGMP’s as another way to demonstrate our commitment to integrated performance across functions.”

Greg said the company’s performance in the year two self-assessment had identified some additional continuous improvement opportunities but confirms OceanaGold is on the right track.

“We acknowledge that if the requirements of the RGMPs were applied at the time of the Year 2 assurance audit (September 2021), we would have difficulty demonstrating conformance in certain governance sub principles. However, work required to meet these RGMP sub principles requires a longer lead time to reach full conformance (for example, establishing and embedding the responsible supply chain framework). Our development of these processes and detailed action plans will support future conformance.”

“Upholding high standards is part of our culture at OceanaGold and is good business. It’s what every global company strives for.”

Going into 2022, the key continuous improvement areas for OceanaGold include:

 Environment

  • Continuing to develop Energy Management plans that identify emission reduction opportunities in support of the delivery of OceanaGold’s interim carbon reduction targets and transition to Net Zero Emissions by 2050.
  • Build business resilience by understanding climate change risks to the business based on IPCC global warming models (physical and transition risk assessments undertaken for all assets) and making relevant disclosures in accordance with the recommendations made by the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).
  • Strengthening closure planning processes and ensuring robust water management systems are implemented at each operation.

 Social

  • Continuing to mature the social performance systems at each operation, including undertaking social risk assessments.
  • Continuing Human Rights Policy training.
  • Continuing to enhance robust stakeholder engagement processes.

 Governance

  • Developing and implementing a multi-year action plan for responsible supply chain processes across the organisation, including human rights and modern slavery.

Reviewing and enhancing our processes for permitting and consenting governance and where relevant, incorporating it into business practices and decision-making.

Fresh research to support New Zealand’s rarest frog
Fresh research to support New Zealand’s rarest frog
New vehicle revs up Waihī LandSAR
New vehicle revs up Waihī LandSAR
Putting young people in the driver’s seat
Putting young people in the driver’s seat

We recently spoke to Gavin Lee, the Macraes Operation’s Environment and Community Manager, about how water is managed on site. 

Water is essential to life and underpins the health of people and communities. It has significant social, ecological, cultural and economic values.

Water is also vital when mining for and producing gold, and at the Macraes Operation, water is used in a number of ways. From the trout hatchery, to the processing plant, to the way we capture stormwater and safely store it.

Each step in our processing plant requires water to separate the valuable minerals containing the gold from the host rock. We initially add water when grinding up gold-bearing ore turning it into slurry (a paste-like mixture of fine rock and water). At this consistency we’re able to move the mixture from one step to the next. Water is also used for mixing reagents like cyanide which dissolves the gold and allows it to be removed from all the other material.

After we remove the gold, the remaining material, which contains trace amounts of cyanide is passed through a cyanide destruction process (the INCO process) to reduce the environmental risk, then pumped as tailings to the tailings storage facility (TSF).

In the processing plant, about 90% of the water we use is recycled, much of it from the tailings storage facilities. About 5% of the water we use is taken from silt ponds, or other water storages which are not able to be discharged, and about 5% (between 1,500 – 1,800 cubic metres a day, or about two thirds of an Olympic Swimming Pool), comes from the Taieri River.

We have three permits with the Otago Regional Council that allow us to take water from the Taieri River. When the flow in the river is low, we work with a group of irrigators in the catchment, called the Strath Taieri Irrigation Group (STIG), to ensure a minimum flow is maintained in the river. STIG has a coordinator who sends out a text message when it is our time to switch on and off the water pumps.

Before the water gets used in the process plant, it is used to produce trout at the Macraes Trout Hatchery. Established in 2004 in collaboration with conservation organisation Fish & Game, the hatchery is a fantastic example of how we can create shared value with our stakeholders. From an initial capital expenditure of NZ$60,000 nearly 20 years ago, the trout hatchery has become enormously successful at continuously supplying trout for the benefit of anglers in Otago.

It is also critical we manage water around the surface mining areas. Erosion from rain leading to sediment run-off needs to be contained in appropriately designed drainage that feeds into silt ponds, where the sediment settles out before the water is discharged to local creeks. Water also needs to be pumped away from open pit floors and the underground to ensure safe and efficient mining operations.

Through our environmental monitoring program, we have found that water that passes through the waste rock stacks may collect sulphates and nitrates. In some cases, the concentrations of these compounds are such that this water cannot be discharged, and it is pumped back into the site water management system.

This process is possible in the short term, however once the mine closes it presents a challenge. Research is currently underway to examine two options. One option is to use this water for irrigation. As sulphates and nitrates are fertilisers, the use of waste rock seepage for irrigation offers the opportunity for a win-win for the mine and the farming community. We are currently working with the University of Otago and a number of lessees to understand the potential of this water.

Where irrigation may not be possible, our team is also working with a research company, Verum, on enhanced passive water treatment. This treatment uses natural processes to convert and remove the sulphates and nitrates from the waste rock water. We have completed a series of lab-based trials and the next step will be a field pilot program. We also worked with Verum on the passive water treatment plant for our Reefton Restoration Project.

With the expanding footprint of the mine, we are collecting additional water and a lot of this water cannot be discharged. At Macraes we have a negative water balance, meaning there is more evaporation than rainfall. So, we use a sprinkler system that utilises evaporation from the sun and wind, to help reduce the volume of water on site. This is particularly important for maintaining the correct freeboard (water levels) on the TSFs.

Water is becoming a scarcer and more valued commodity. Looking forward, we are likely to face changes in rainfall patterns with more intense rainfall and long periods without rain. What this means for mining is that we need to always be thinking about how we can reduce our water consumption by minimising use and increasing reuse.

In our Water Management Statement of Position we commit to reducing our water-related impacts through collaboration, partnerships, product stewardship, minimising our use and a strong focus on operational control and improving operational performance. Using water wisely is good for the environment, good for society and also good for business.

Fresh research to support New Zealand’s rarest frog
Fresh research to support New Zealand’s rarest frog
New vehicle revs up Waihī LandSAR
New vehicle revs up Waihī LandSAR
Putting young people in the driver’s seat
Putting young people in the driver’s seat

For Justin Johns – who joined OceanaGold in 2010 and has worked at the Globe Progress Mine, Macraes Operation, Haile Gold Mine and Waihi Operation – OceanaGold is a career destination with real growth potential.

Justin Johns spent his whole childhood in Kalgoorlie but has spent most of his mining career in New Zealand.

Along the way, Justin has worked at almost every OceanaGold operation and found challenges and opportunities at every site.

“My Dad said to me ‘If you’re not going to study, you’ll just end up digging holes for a living’. I went to university in Western Australia and ended up with a degree in chemistry and back in Kalgoorlie working in a lab,” Justin said.

Justin said he soon realised that wasn’t for him and returned to study part time for two years at the School of Mines, while continuing to work full time, receiving a Diploma in Metallurgy.

“I had discovered my passion. The ability to create something out of rock,” he said.

Joining OceanaGold in 2010 as Process Manager at the Globe Progress Mine (now Reefton Restoration Project), Justin says that it was really special to develop a team that worked so well together to improve the plant year on year, whether from a tonnage or cost perspective.

“The Reefton site, high up in the Paparoa Range and looking out over the mountains is just awesome and making concentrate to be shipped by rail to the other side of the South Island to our Macraes mine was very different.”

Justin followed the concentrate, working in Dunedin and Macraes as Metallurgical Superintendent and Process Manager.

“The Macraes Operation is a well-established and far more complex site and also a really good place for a person entering the industry to get wide ranging experience in their trade or degree.”

“A comparatively old plant coupled with the complexities of the autoclave system was fascinating. Innovative technological solutions with computer systems and data management allowed us to provide end users with really useful information very quickly and for valid decisions to be made based on reliable information.”

Justin’s next move was to the Haile Gold Mine for three years, which he describes as “challenging, but very rewarding”.

“The site has variable ore sources, and the plant is complex and advanced, dealing with refractory gold and a very fine grind. There are many advanced control systems and there is the ability to link systems together to provide advanced plant control and reporting systems.”

Now back in New Zealand, and at the Waihi Operation, Justin says there are further opportunities to push learnings and technologies from other operations to further optimise ore processing at the mine.

“The main thing is building a high performing team. In the end, the technology is a tool, it’s the team who use that technology that’s really important.”

“OceanaGold is a ‘Goldilocks’ company. We are not too big and not too small – big enough to provide a significant opportunity to get exposure to many aspects of the industry, chase various career paths and work at different locations, but small enough to be innovative, to try things, to influence and direct change.”

“At OceanaGold, if you show you are willing to learn and put in a good effort, the scope is certainly there.”

The value we bring, and create, at OceanaGold
The value we bring, and create, at OceanaGold
Employee testimonial: Justin Johns, Waihi Operation Process Manager
Employee testimonial: Justin Johns, Waihi Operation Process Manager
Creating a workplace destination of choice by fostering belonging
Creating a workplace destination of choice by fostering belonging

Having commenced commercial operations over 31 years ago, the Macraes Operation in New Zealand’s South Island has grown to become one of the world’s lowest-cost operations and New Zealand’s largest gold-producing mine.

In late October Macraes celebrated an important milestone – first production from the new Golden Point Underground, with five thousand tonnes of ore being moved to the mill for processing.

Golden Point Underground is OceanaGold’s newest underground mine, having commenced development in 2020. The project was one of a number of recent underground and open pit expansions at Macraes and will soon replace operations at Frasers Underground.

Underground Mine Manager, James Isles, said the team delivered first production on schedule despite encountering challenging ground conditions in the upper section of the Golden Point decline.

“To ensure we were developing a decline that delivers long-term stability and safety, we implemented a rapid cable bolt installation system,” James said.

“Using the new system, the anchors can be drilled and secured by a jumbo operating at the face as part of the normal ground support cycle and encapsulated using pumpable resin by the support crew when they come in to charge the heading.”

“Cable bolts are used to stabilise the walls and roof of the drives and the new system is much more efficient.”

Macraes Operation General Manager, Mike Fischer, said innovation like this was central to the mining approach at the Macraes Operation.

“Macraes started mining in 1990 with a life of seven years. We recently surpassed 31 years of continuous mining, and in large part that’s down to the quality of the team, their commitment to safety, community, our environment, and always innovating,” Mike said.

“Every day we focus on the partnerships, technologies and skills we need to sustainably mine gold for many years to come. As we look ahead, this includes more efficient production, while lowering our emissions profile,” he said.

“We continually look to the future and have recently conducted a Climate Change Risk Assessment. This is an important step in the development of our plans to address climate change and greenhouse gas emissions and will support the OceanaGold Corporate target to be Carbon Neutral by 2050.”

Having just completed his second month as General Manager, Mike said that although the Macraes Operation might be considered a mature mine, after 31 years of continuous operation there is the potential for the mine to be producing for another 30 years.

“Macraes is a long-life mineral precinct that continues to be responsibly developed to deliver positive outcomes for all stakeholders,” Mike said.

“We’ve operated for over 31 years and produced over five million ounces of gold. In late 2020 we delivered our single longest life of mine extension, of eight years, and we are working to produce around 1.1 million ounces of gold over that time,” he said.

“We’re proud to be contributing to economic growth. Our operation accounts for approximately 20% – 30% of the local economy and in 2020 we provided employment for around 1,000 people, invested over US$124 million with local and national suppliers and contributed over US$24 million in taxes, rates and royalties.”

The Macraes Operation is currently operating in three open pits (Coronation, Frasers and Deepdell) and two underground mines (Frasers Underground and Golden Point Underground).

First production from Golden Point Underground at Macraes
First production from Golden Point Underground at Macraes
New life for one of New Zealand’s oldest gold mines
New life for one of New Zealand’s oldest gold mines
Responding in a pandemic
Responding in a pandemic

As far as the dozens of young people at Lancaster Children’s Home are concerned, the dead-end road sign on Children’s Avenue is inaccurate.  The road, and the agency operating there, offers an outlet and a passageway to a better life than the one each child originally inherited.

The Lancaster Children’s Home affords a chance for the children to press “reset” since many have been abandoned, neglected, or abused in some way. State funding and grants provide only a portion of the funds required to operate the facility in a “home-like” way.

Community support from companies like Haile Gold Mine helps the agency operate just a little easier for the children and dedicated employees.

Haile recently joined other local corporate sponsors to fund the 11th Annual Fall Flurry Clay Shoot – the biggest fundraiser event for the Lancaster Children’s Home. In November the operation donated 63lbs of wild boar sausage to stock the facility’s freezer.

Wild Boar pose a threat to infrastructure and humans. The Haile Gold Mine conducts a trap and kill program to reduce the onsite population when frequent sightings occur. The pigs are processed, and meat is donated in the community wherever a need exists.

“We absolutely love the Haile Gold Mine, they have been wonderful to us,” Director of Community Development, April Joplin said.

Haile also provided items for outdoor activities last summer, which April said was a great treat for the children. The COVID-19 pandemic has limited the agency’s ability to host onsite programs for the children. The need for other activities significantly increased.

“The outdoor activity items were wonderful for our kids and gave them things to keep them occupied outside. You can’t take a troubled teen and make them sit in their bedroom 24/7. That’s a recipe for disaster,” she said.

Community support is perhaps the biggest factor in the success of the facility. April said state support provides little more than enough for “three hots and a cot.”

According to April, considerably more is needed to provide a safe and comfortable environment for the children. For example, many referrals necessitate maintaining counseling services. Some also need glasses, which means trips to appointments.

Part of April’s job is seeking opportunities for more funding. Lancaster Children’s Home relies heavily on grants and fundraising efforts. Food donations are important, but there are challenges because the facility cooks in bulk so small cans of food aren’t as helpful. AmazonSmile has been a big help.

The online portal is separate from Amazon’s main website. It offers the same items and benefits as Amazon.com but has a big charitable difference. When you purchase on AmazonSmile, 0.5% of the price goes to the charity of your choice at no extra charge to the charity or customer.

“We promote that a lot on our social media. We’ll have people go online and order the bulk food and it’ll be shipped to us,” April said.

Residents of Sun City Carolina Lakes have also been instrumental in their support of Lancaster Children’s Home. The panhandle community’s Friends of Lancaster Children’s Home and a Helping Hands group have stepped up to meet needs as they arise.

“Both of those groups go above and beyond to help us out,” she said.

There’s plenty of opportunities for you to help out with Christmas right around the corner. You can donate gifts to the children by checking Lancaster Children’s Home Facebook and Instagram pages. The agency frequently updates both outlets with a list of needs. Christmas wish lists will also be shared on social media.

April said the great thing about support from corporations like Haile is the example it sets for employees.

“We’ve had employees from Haile reach out and ask what they can do. When your employer is setting the example, it encourages the employees to be a philanthropist and want to do the same thing,” she said.

If you would like to support the Lancaster Children’s Home, please reach out to them at +1 803 286 5277, or follow their social media pages for donation information. The agency is a 501c3 non-profit organization.

Fresh research to support New Zealand’s rarest frog
Fresh research to support New Zealand’s rarest frog
New vehicle revs up Waihī LandSAR
New vehicle revs up Waihī LandSAR
Putting young people in the driver’s seat
Putting young people in the driver’s seat

Following a surge of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines this year, local government officials and OceanaGold’s Didipio Mine repurposed the Didipio Family Health Centre as an isolation unit to help manage and treat people within the Didipio and neighbouring communities.

The Mine turned over the facility to Barangay Didipio as a health facility in 2018, to cater for the emergency health needs of the community. In June this year, as the number of COVID-19 cases in community increased, Lolita Kigi-e, one of the Mine’s Occupational Health Supervisors, was seconded to spearhead the operation of the Didipio Family Health Centre as a COVID-19 facility. Lolita, a Didipio resident and a registered nurse who worked in Saudi Arabia for over six years, was pleased to accept the assignment and serve her fellow Didipio residents.

Renovations were undertaken to meet the requirements of the Department of Health (DOH) for the Centre to serve as a COVID-19 isolation facility. The Centre was re-opened, fully equipped with medicines and supplies, including emergency response equipment, appropriate PPE and Rapid Antigen Test kits. It’s now staffed by five nurses and two nursing aides.

Since opening, the facility has hired two health consultants – a surgeon and an internist – to conduct consultations and minor surgery every Tuesday and Thursday. This service has eased the burden on community members who needed to obtain COVID-19 related travel documents in order to leave their barangay for other medical treatments. The Centre has also hired on-call specialists, including an obstetrics gynaecologist, paediatricians and a sonologist, who consult on site as required by the community. With the additional medical staff, the Centre has been able to treat patients who cannot be admitted to hospital due to a shortage of available beds.

Didipio Mine Occupational Health Supervisor, Lolita Kigi-e, said the Mine was committed to helping the local government units and the Didipio Family Health Centre support the health and wellbeing of the people in Didipio and adjacent communities.

“Originally the Centre was built with a 10-bed capacity, but it can now accommodate up to 15 patients and it has the capacity to treat patients who have COVID-19 symptoms who are isolating, and those who require treatment,” Lolita said.

“Since opening in June, the Centre has served 62 COVID-19 patients, with most being classified as severe, and 11 non-COVID-19 cases diagnosed with pneumonia, most requiring paediatric services,” she said.

“The Centre has also conducted more than 900 Rapid Antigen Tests and is providing contact tracing services in partnership with the Barangay Health Station.”

“While acting as an isolation facility, the Centre still provides routine and emergency medical services to roughly 15-20 people per day,” Lolita said.

The Didipio Mine has invested PhP13.1 million (over US$261,000) constructing, re-fitting and equipping the Centre and has allocated an additional Php12.4million (over $US247,000) to support the Centre’s COVID-19 operating expenses.  Barangay Didipio also continues to support the operation of the Centre from its Social Development and Management Fund.

Fresh research to support New Zealand’s rarest frog
Fresh research to support New Zealand’s rarest frog
New vehicle revs up Waihī LandSAR
New vehicle revs up Waihī LandSAR
Putting young people in the driver’s seat
Putting young people in the driver’s seat

Diversity, equity and inclusion at OceanaGold with Graham Almond, Executive Vice President Chief Officer People, Culture and Technology

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) – three vital words to the character of OceanaGold.

According to Diversity Australia (2021) “inclusion has never been more important in our inter-cultural, intergenerational world where respect for diversity is even more essential”.

As a multi-national employer, we strive to be a workplace where employees feel they belong – belong to a community of people who want to work in a constructive culture environment where everyone brings their unique self to work, where we bring out the best in each other, where every talent is used and every voice is heard.

At OceanaGold we celebrate diversity and are proud to be an equal employment opportunity employer who does not discriminate based on personal factors such race, religion, colour, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, veteran status, disability, or any other personal characteristic protected by law.

OceanaGold’s strategy to drive DE&I throughout the organisation starts with our Fair Employment Committee. The Committee consists of diverse members from across the company, who have identified the following three strategic questions to address in 2021:

  1. Attract: To improve OceanaGold’s opportunity to increase diversity in the workforce, what changes need to be made/programs required to be introduced to our current way of sourcing candidates?
  2. Engage, Grow and Retain: To improve OceanaGold’s opportunity to retain a diverse workforce, what changes need to be made/programs required to be introduced for employees to pursue career pathways?
  3. Effectiveness: To improve OceanaGold’s position in the market as a destination of choice for a diverse workforce, what measures does OGC need to take to take across our regions to be recognized as a destination of choice for minority groups?

Outcomes from these strategic questions will be put forward to the executive team and Board for approval and implementation in 2022 and will build on our 2021 DE&I goals which include maintaining 20% female workforce and 20% female leaders across the business, developing belonging and inclusion module for our Gold Leadership constructive leader program, as well as implementing changes to workplace conditions that are conducive to embrace women in mining.

Our approach to building out a workplace committed to Belonging is consistent with the following model.

(Source: From Unrealised Growth in Mining: Upgrading the Future to Include Human Capital and Belonging, A. Carter with Adler University & Women in Mining Canada, p 11, June 2021)

Various initiatives and pay benchmarking, including assessing gender pay gaps, have been implemented to manage the diverse talent at OceanaGold such as:

  • fair remuneration
  • working toward position title harmonization
  • the introduction of workforce planning
  • interview skills training to ensure talent acquisition and management is without bias and subject to merit
  • tracking the promotion of women
  • creating opportunities for work experience in other parts of the organisation.

To build constructive leadership capability and create belonging through an inclusive work force with diverse thinking and experience, OceanaGold incorporates training initiatives such as a Gold Leadership program, an online leader training portal and Life Styles Inventory (LSI) personal development training.

There’s an emphasis on developing leaders measuring the effectiveness of leaders through our bi-annual culture surveys, which measure six causal factors of constructive leadership:

  1. interaction facilitation
  2. task facilitation
  3. goal emphasis
  4. consideration
  5. downward communication
  6. upward communication.

This desirable and strong culture that OceanaGold represents, underpinned by our values of Respect, One Team, Contribute and Knowledge, is all driven by our purpose to mine gold for a better future and ensure employee belonging is real.

By addressing belonging, we create a destination of choice for people to work for OceanaGold from all walks of life and experience and promote a psychologically safe and rewarding work environment.

The value we bring, and create, at OceanaGold
The value we bring, and create, at OceanaGold
Employee testimonial: Justin Johns, Waihi Operation Process Manager
Employee testimonial: Justin Johns, Waihi Operation Process Manager
Creating a workplace destination of choice by fostering belonging
Creating a workplace destination of choice by fostering belonging

This article was published in Inside Resources in October 2021: New Macraes GM eyes another 1.1m ozs

OceanaGold’s new general manager at Macraes is already focused on the challenges ahead to produce a further 1.1 million ounces of gold during the next eight years.

Mike Fischer, who started in the Macraes GM role in late-September, tells Inside Resources he’s focused on strategic business development outcomes, safety and risk management, and developing successful operational teams.

“I’ve arrived at an exciting time for Macraes and look forward to leading the team as we work towards the production of 1.1 million ounces of gold over the next eight years.”

Mainstay mine

During the past three decades Macraes has been the mainstay of the company’s four mines, having delivered more than 5 million ounces of gold; the East Otago mine employs more than 650 staff.

After 30 years working around the world, Fischer says taking up the Macraes GM role is “just like coming home”.

“After gaining my degree at Otago over 35 years ago, I’m now back in the district and just up the road. It’s good to be back.”

Fischer holds a Bachelor of mineral technology (first class honours) from Otago university and a South African metalliferous mine manager’s certificate, and is also a registered professional engineer in South Africa.

He replaces Matt Hine who went to OceanaGold’s Waihi mine.

Macraes life-of-mine extension a ‘launching pad’

Fischer says he’s taking time to get to understand the Macraes operation and to know the people working there.

His first impressions are of the level of motivation amongst the team, the high quality of work, and the excellent mining conditions and housekeeping in all areas of the operation.

“Thanks to the work the team here has put in, we have the longest-ever extension to the Macraes life-of-mine. We’re currently seeing the benefit of that as we invest in infrastructure and equipment.”

Fischer has significant experience in increasing and optimising mine production.

“Now we must use this as a solid foundation for future development and make sure we make the most of all opportunities. This is a launching pad.”

He says that as well as gaining a full understanding of the Macraes operation, he’s looking forward to meeting the mine’s neighbours and spending time in the community and with stakeholders.

Experience worldwide

Fischer has previously worked in senior management roles in gold and base metal mines in South Africa, Australia, Papua New Guinea, Chile, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey and, most recently, Mongolia.

In Mongolia he was chief executive officer at a high-grade gold mine, responsible for introducing new stoping methods more suited to the narrow ore body, developing comprehensive life-of-mine plans, expanding the process plant to triple its throughput and developing and implementing new reporting structures and systems.

Fischer has significant experience in managing large underground and open pit mines, narrow vein underground mine operations, project management, and in building mid-tier mining companies.

At Kumtor in Kyrgyzstan, Fischer was instrumental in the recapitalisation of the mine which resulted in a quantum increase in open pit production – from 280,000 tonnes to 600,000 tonnes per day.

The mine accounted for 12 per cent of Kyrgyzstan’s GDP and more than half its total export receipts. For 2021, the 24-year-old Kumtor mine is estimating gold production in a range of 470,000 to 510,000 ounces.

The value we bring, and create, at OceanaGold
The value we bring, and create, at OceanaGold
Employee testimonial: Justin Johns, Waihi Operation Process Manager
Employee testimonial: Justin Johns, Waihi Operation Process Manager
Creating a workplace destination of choice by fostering belonging
Creating a workplace destination of choice by fostering belonging

This article was published in the Mining News in October 2021: New life for one of New Zealand’s oldest gold mines

One of New Zealand’s oldest mines is getting a technological makeover, with equipment and a digital transformation playing a key part in boosting output and making it the country’s most technologically advanced underground mine.

The Martha Underground Mine is part of OceanaGold’s Waihi Operation, in the town of Waihi on New Zealand’s North Island. First operated in 1879, the mine was one of the world’s greatest gold mines back in its day, until a drop in the gold price saw the mine gate shut in 1952. By then, 175km of tunnels had been driven into the quartz of Martha Hill.

A rising gold price in the 1980s reignited interest in Martha from the then newly-established, Waihi Gold Mining Company, with the Martha open pit mine opening in June 1988, before being acquired by Newmont in 2002.

Today, the mine is owned by OceanaGold, which bought the operation in 2015. After the acquisition, OceanaGold quickly established a significant exploration program and introduced technology to improve the operation’s performance and output.

Waihi Operation General Manager, Matthew Hine, said the company was very pleased with the progress made at the new Martha Underground.

“Development of the Martha Underground kicked off in February 2019, achieved first gold production in mid-2020 and continuous milling this year,” Matthew said.

“Martha Underground is one of a number of exciting opportunities for the operation. In July 2020, we released our Waihi District Study, which outlined the potential for an extended mine life for Waihi to 2036 from the Martha Underground, Wharekirauponga (WKP) Underground, Gladstone Open Pit and a cutback of the existing Martha Open Pit.”

“We continue to be very excited for the future. Expanding Waihi and developing the Wharekirauponga Underground would bring significant economic, social and environmental investment along with hundreds of additional jobs.”

Not bad for an old gold mine that has endured a stop-start existence.

OceanaGold recently invested in Sandvik equipment for Martha Underground, including three new LH517i loaders complete with Sandvik’s AutoMine remote bogging product, two TH551i trucks and a DL431 production drill. Two new DD421i development drills fitted with 10/16 split feeds are expected on site soon to complement the existing fleet.

Waihi Underground Mine Manager, Alex Watkins, said the AutoMine system allows for one bogger operator to simultaneously manage multiple stope locations, from surface.

“The tonnes bogged per hour rates we are seeing from implementation of the new AutoMine system are a 15% improvement on what we had previously. We are seeing less wear on our bogging fleet as the remote paths are strategically mapped and tramming speeds are set before remote activities start,” Alex said.

“The equipment and its technology are supported by a SMART Centre, operating on the surface 24hrs a day. It acts as the gatekeeper for an array of digital information, broadcasting operational performance that ranges from primary pump station dewatering rates, through to ventilation draw and operator cycle time. It interfaces as a suite of interactive reports, which the operations team interrogate as part of the continuous improvement process to de-bottleneck the operation.”

Two such focus areas are reducing mine profiles and improving truck efficiencies.

“Reduced ore drive profile sizes have recently been reviewed with careful consideration given to our downhole drilling requirements and ore body geometry. A reduction in the cross-sectional area throughout our ore drives will have a range of benefits including faster development rates reaching stope fronts earlier, reduced costs and higher development ore tonne grades delivered to the ROM,” Alex said.

Along with the new TH551i trucking fleet demonstrating greater payloads and tramming speeds, and to further improve efficiencies, OceanaGold installed ventilation door switches in the dashboard of the truck cabins. The switches remove the need for trucks to stop on the main travel way.

“The vent doors are now remote controlled by a switch built into the truck, to prevent them  from stopping on the decline. Across the truck fleet, stopping on the decline was equating to up to 5,000 lost hours per year – so we have essentially added a new truck into our fleet without absorbing the cost of purchasing one. We will also see less mechanical wear and premature failure to truck transmissions and final drives,” Alex said.

For Alex, helping get the Martha Underground operation up and running is a fresh challenge. He swapped the red dust of Western Australia for the cooler climes of Waihi a couple of months ago to take over as Waihi Underground Manager. A residential worker, Alex lives about three minutes from the mine.

“I’d been hearing about Waihi here and there, the mine’s location and the iconic history interested me,” Alex said.

“Most of the mine workers are local to the area. The mine provides excellent community support to Waihi and nearby towns.”

Alex reckons he got to Waihi at an interesting time, with development of the Martha Underground ramping up alongside production.

“Development is still very much a focus area and we are trending well with our physicals, increasing and over achieving on our development rates are critical to opening up new stoping areas early, the key is to get to steady state production, safely and ahead of schedule,” Alex said.

“My job is to make the project efficient, cash-flow positive and turn out a self-funding site safely.”

First production from Golden Point Underground at Macraes
First production from Golden Point Underground at Macraes
New life for one of New Zealand’s oldest gold mines
New life for one of New Zealand’s oldest gold mines
Responding in a pandemic
Responding in a pandemic

‘Determined’ is a word that comes to mind when describing OceanaGold’s Social Performance Advisor, Danielle Crawford. ‘Ambitious’ also encapsulates her drive but is a less generous explanation of her calm and thoughtful approach, especially when it comes to community.

A proud Maori woman, and growing up in the heart of New Zealand’s mining township of Waihi, where OceanaGold now owns and operates extensive mining operations, Danielle’s resolve was displayed long before joining the company.

“We are lean, but we are respected for our expertise, treated as integral to the organisation and have the ability to affect change. OceanaGold is big in integrity.”

As well has completing a law degree in Auckland and being admitted to the bar of the High Court of New Zealand, she majored in indigenous studies and sociology. She also went home every summer holiday for 5 years to work at the Waihi Operation (then owned by Newmont Mining) until she graduated.

“That was my first taste of the industry and I loved it,” Danielle said. “When OceanaGold purchased Newmont in 2016, they offered me the role of Community Support Advisor and I didn’t think twice – it was a role that perfectly blended mining and our social licence to operate by working with community, government and iwi.”

Head of External Affairs and Social Performance Sharon Flynn soon saw Danielle’s work first-hand and obviously saw future leadership potential. She invited Danielle to present on the social impact management process conducted at Waihi to the Didipio team in the Philippines.

“At the end of that presentation, Sharon congratulated me on my promotion,” she said. “I was so surprised – I had no idea I was being covertly interviewed! I admired her innovative approach, and of course amazing opportunities have followed.”

The promotion led Danielle to Brisbane where she helped deliver the company’s first External Affairs and Social Performance Manual, which has been developed to capture management systems and processes to protect and enhance the company’s reputation as a responsible miner.

“OceanaGold took a risk on me. I got pushed out of my comfort zone and I can’t tell you how valued that makes me feel,” she said.

“Because we are a small company, we are lean, and it pushes us to be more fluid. We have the ability to affect change and it’s genuine.

“From the Executive level down, we are recognised as individuals and respected for what each of us brings to the table. There are no barriers to leadership and for my own personal growth, that means I’m learning all the recipes for good leadership and how to create and nurture high-performance teams.

“OceanaGold may be small in size, but we are big in integrity.”

The value we bring, and create, at OceanaGold
The value we bring, and create, at OceanaGold
Employee testimonial: Justin Johns, Waihi Operation Process Manager
Employee testimonial: Justin Johns, Waihi Operation Process Manager
Creating a workplace destination of choice by fostering belonging
Creating a workplace destination of choice by fostering belonging

With mining in the blood, Josue’s pursuit of a career in mining started at the age of 14 where he attended a mining technical school in the Democratic Republic of Congo. While following in his father’s footsteps as a Metallurgist, he says he would probably be a farmer had he not moved to the United States to follow his dream.

“A scientist through and through, I think I would be running a farm and applying science and technology to farming practices had I not studied metallurgy,” Josue said.

“But it was while I was conducting an experiment extracting copper metal from a copper sulphate solution at school that I knew that metallurgy was for me. It was pure magic,” he said.

OceanaGold was in his sights and became Josue’s first professional opportunity in the industry. After studying in Colorado for eight years including completing a master’s degree in Extractive Metallurgy, the company offered him an internship. He commenced in 2016 as a graduate and, and all things going to plan, he intends to stay long-term.

“I’m doing what I love, and the company provides me with a sense of ownership and professional opportunities that larger companies can’t offer.”

Josue said while there have been challenges, he can look back with a sense of pride at his achievements and honestly say that he has delivered process improvements.

“I think we’ve got something good going on here,” he said.

“I feel informed – not just about the Haile operation but about the business globally and how it performs and what the plans are for the future.

“And when you feel informed, you feel empowered. That makes me do my best every day.”

The value we bring, and create, at OceanaGold
The value we bring, and create, at OceanaGold
Employee testimonial: Justin Johns, Waihi Operation Process Manager
Employee testimonial: Justin Johns, Waihi Operation Process Manager
Creating a workplace destination of choice by fostering belonging
Creating a workplace destination of choice by fostering belonging

Born and raised in Lancaster County, South Carolina, Beverly Adams has lived in close proximity to the Haile Gold Mine her entire life, but until six years ago she had never imagined forming a career with the mine.

After 23 years in the banking industry, in 2015 Beverly saw a new opportunity working with OceanaGold, who had just purchased the mine from Romarco Minerals.

It was perfect timing. Beverly was ready for a change – but not just with any company. Her new employer would need to share the same strong community values.

“As a branch manager at one of our local banks, I had dealings with many of the landowners who had sold land to OceanaGold as they expanded their operations, and they always spoke so highly of their interactions with the company,” Beverly said.

“The most common feedback I got was that OceanaGold wasn’t transactional. They worked closely with landowners to relocate them to suitable housing, find loans for new properties, and in some cases, even helped them find new homes and move,” she said.

“Through these conversations with my local community, I formed an appreciation of the company’s culture, so when I investigated a new job at the mine, I didn’t hesitate to take up an offer.

“Fast forward six years, and I am working in a job I love, in a team environment where I am learning every day and developing my career along a new path. Life sometimes surprises us with rare opportunities, and I’m grateful this one came my way.”

Beverly quickly earned her stripes with OceanaGold, and it wasn’t long before her work ethic and community-minded approach were recognised with a promotion to the role of Community Relations Coordinator.

“I’ve got the best office in the world,” Beverly exclaimed, commenting on the historic Kershaw rail depot, which OceanaGold purchased and restored in 2010. Today, the depot is open to the public as the Kershaw Historical Museum and is used by OceanaGold as a community meeting space. The museum comprises items donated by the town’s residents and objects found at the Haile Gold Mine.

“It’s a unique building that brings the mining and local community together, allowing us all to connect in a space that’s steeped in local history,” she said.

“It’s meaningful to our community that OceanaGold recognises our past and celebrates it. I’ve never worked for a company that genuinely recognises their broad social impact the way OceanaGold does.”

Beverly said before modern day mining recommenced at Haile in the early 2000s, the County was best known as a textile manufacturing hub.

“When the industry predominantly left our region, unemployment skyrocketed,” she said.

“OceanaGold’s sustainable mining approach ensures we will never impact the town or its people in that manner.”

“I’m proud to be part of a global team dedicated to delivering and monitoring programs with a strong social conscience. The goal is to ensure our host communities are self-sufficient when mine life eventually ends.”

Serving her community is clearly part of Beverly’s DNA. When asked about her proudest career achievements, she didn’t describe a project she had delivered on time or a cost saving she had made. Instead, Beverly talked about the way she had made people feel.

“A community member told me the other day that she trusted me; she considered me one of her friends,” Beverly said.

“As the mine’s Community Relations Coordinator, I’ve made strong bonds with people I wouldn’t ordinarily come into contact with. I genuinely care about the community’s wellbeing and it’s rewarding that they recognise it.”

The value we bring, and create, at OceanaGold
The value we bring, and create, at OceanaGold
Employee testimonial: Justin Johns, Waihi Operation Process Manager
Employee testimonial: Justin Johns, Waihi Operation Process Manager
Creating a workplace destination of choice by fostering belonging
Creating a workplace destination of choice by fostering belonging

Darwynn Tucpi has been with OceanaGold’s Didipio Mine for 14 years. Over this time, he’s developed skills and mining experience made possible through commitment and determination, and with the support and encouragement of his work team, friends and family.

This backing has allowed Darywnn to pursue a career in the town he calls home, while establishing a family home to provide stability and a future for his children.

Commencing with the company in 2006 as a field engineer, Darwynn has delivered many civil construction projects for the mine including as a Field Inspector for the 2007 opening of the access road in Didipio – the first major infrastructure in the community’s history that connected Didipio to adjacent barangays and beyond.

Darwynn explains it as one of his proudest achievements. “I was born in Poblacion, Kasibu and married a local Didipian woman, so Didipio is my home. To have been involved in one of the most significant projects in our history was extremely rewarding,” he said.

“I was involved from the beginning including negotiations with landowners, through to development and construction including installation of gabion walls and slope protections after a typhoon struck the region and caused a landslide.”

Over the 12 years that followed, Darwynn’s career progressed to the role of Supervisor for site services including road maintenance and camp accommodation, to Senior Supervisor in 2019 and then Asset Maintenance Supervisor in 2020.

Darwynn said the two-year suspension of operations between 2019 and 2021, during the renewal of the Mine’s Financial or Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA), was difficult for the community.

“Not only does the Didipio Mine provide our bread and butter, we have all witnessed first-hand how OceanaGold operates responsibly and we are proud to be the mine’s host community,” he said.

On 14 July 2021, the Philippine Government renewed the Didpio FTAA for an additional 25-year period.

“With operations resuming, the majority of the community has had its prayers answered,” Darwynn said.

“It means more job opportunities, the development projects in the community will resume, and the operation will contribute to the Philippines’ economic recovery and continued management of COVID-19.”

The value we bring, and create, at OceanaGold
The value we bring, and create, at OceanaGold
Employee testimonial: Justin Johns, Waihi Operation Process Manager
Employee testimonial: Justin Johns, Waihi Operation Process Manager
Creating a workplace destination of choice by fostering belonging
Creating a workplace destination of choice by fostering belonging

OceanaGold’s COVID-19 response was implemented again in late August when New Zealand entered into an Alert Level 4 lockdown. With most of the country now back to *Alert Level 2, read about how OceanaGold responded and took care of its workforce and the community.

On 17 August 2021, New Zealand’ Prime Minister announced at an evening press conference that New Zealand would move into a Level 4 lockdown at midnight that night, following a positive community case of the highly contagious Delta variant.

Since the start of the pandemic, New Zealand has had only limited cases of COVID-19 and has taken swift action under a four-level alert system to prevent the spread of the virus and protect New Zealanders’.

“We acted immediately,” said Dan Calderwood, Health, Safety and Environment Manager at OceanaGold’s Waihi Operation, in New Zealand’s North Island.

“With the Delta strain being more contagious and spreading rapidly across the globe, we had prepared for further COVID-19 related lockdowns,” he said. “We had recently undertaken scenario planning as part of the rollout of our COVID-19 Management Plan across the operation,” he said.

“In terms of what the lockdown looked like, specifically for Waihi, we needed to work with local government authorities and immediately ceased operations for two weeks in line with Alert Level 4 requirements.”

Outside Auckland, (which at the time of publishing is operating under Alert Level 3), New Zealand moved to Alert Level 3 on 31 August and Alert Level 2 on 7 September.

Eighteen months into the pandemic and with mining operations located across New Zealand, the United States and the Philippines, and offices in Australia and Canada, OceanaGold’s corporate policy and localised systems are now well embedded.

OceanaGold Health and Safety Manager, Bernie Murphy, said the company needed to ensure its operations and associated human resources remained flexible and adaptable.

“As part of this, communication with our employees is key, especially at the start of a lockdown period,” Bernie said.

“We need to be clear around who can and who can’t work remotely, which takes into consideration the type, nature and location of roles, and we need to provide comfort and security around wages, government subsidies and other entitlements,” she said.

“We all understand and can appreciate the impacts that lockdowns can have on health and wellbeing, and as a responsible miner we have a duty of care to make sure our employees, contractors and the broader community are safe. That includes providing support services to those who need it.”

OceanaGold’s COVID-19 response strategy is focused on prevention, preparedness, response and recovery. The management measures fall into three key areas:

  • Minimise the risk of employees’ contracting or spreading COVID-19 at work or during transit to or from work
  • Have a well-informed workforce that can self-manage to reduce exposure risks to themselves and their families
  • Develop specific and stringent operational continuity plans that reflect the specific requirements at each of our offices and operations and prevent our workplaces from becoming a potential source of transmission.

Key to implementation is an awareness of, and engagement with, regulatory agencies in each of its operational jurisdictions. OceanaGold also subscribes to the advice of the World Health Organisation and is consistently reviewing industry best practice to assess opportunities to reduce exposure to the virus.

Vaccination

In early 2021, with global vaccination programs commencing, OceanaGold released its COVID-19 Vaccination Statement of Position, outlining a commitment to support equitable global distribution of vaccines in line with jurisdictional strategies, programs and goals.

To achieve this OceanaGold has commenced planning for a workplace program to facilitate and support the uptake of vaccinations. In doing so, the company supports local, regional and national vaccination strategies and timelines.

 

*At the time of publishing, Auckland was at Alert level 3 with the rest of New Zealand at Alert Level 2.

First production from Golden Point Underground at Macraes
First production from Golden Point Underground at Macraes
New life for one of New Zealand’s oldest gold mines
New life for one of New Zealand’s oldest gold mines
Responding in a pandemic
Responding in a pandemic

OceanaGold takes a proactive approach to working through concerns, complaints and grievances to foster a greater understanding of and connection with the community.

There is perhaps no one better suited to the role of Community Liaison Officer than Donna Fisher. Donna has lived in the Waihi region for 45 years and has spent 26 of those working at the Waihi Operation. For the last 19 years, she has worked as the Community Liaison Officer, so to say she knows Waihi quite well (the town, people and mine) is an understatement.

“I live and breathe it. It doesn’t matter where I am in town – the doctor, hairdresser or the supermarket – a member of the community will always ask me about what’s happening at the mine,” Donna said.

“But I don’t mind. At a human level, all people really want is someone to talk to, and I’m a good listener,” she said. “The feedback – while not always positive – is always welcome and by contacting me, people know action will be taken.”

Donna’s statement characterises OceanaGold’s approach to concerns, complaints and grievances – even when feedback comes through as criticism, or is a complaint about unavoidable operational impacts, the information is powerful.

Social Performance Advisor, Danielle Crawford, is part of the company’s External Affairs and Social Performance team that develops and manages responsible mining policy and process. She says the company’s operational community engagement teams provide an important conduit for identifying, reporting, and responding to concerns, complaints and grievances.

“Complaints aren’t received negatively, rather they are an opportunity to engage, and to enhance our control mechanisms, which can often lead to operational improvements,” Danielle said.

“It shows that people trust us to deal with issues, which we do with very embedded processes that are required of us both legislatively, and across the industry as a responsible miner.”

OceanaGold’s Complaints and Grievance Mechanism Standard, implemented in 2019, provides a framework for the timely and adequate resolution of concerns, complaints, and grievances relating to operations and projects, with a focus on preventative management.

The Standard is governed by the External Affairs and Social Performance Manual and is subject to biennial review. This forms part of OceanaGold’s commitment to meeting the World Gold Council’s Responsible Gold Mining Principles (Principle 2.5), which states: We will establish fair, accessible, effective and timely mechanisms through which complaints and grievances related to our activities can be raised and resolved and remedies implemented. Those raising such grievances in good faith will not face discrimination or retaliation as a result of raising their concerns.

Actions resulting from the recent review will be implemented by the end of 2021. These include establishing designated community hotlines at the Macraes Operation in New Zealand and the Haile Gold Mine in the United States.

For the company’s operations at the “mining towns” of Waihi in New Zealand and Didipio in the Philippines, immediate neighbours and the broader community are well versed in mining activities through targeted engagement and communication. Community hotlines are already established at these operations, but the review found opportunities to improve internal triage systems to ensure complaints and grievances are resolved more quickly.

Back on site at Waihi, it’s Donna’s experience at resolving issues and building relationships with the community that has extended the company’s duty of care.

“At a training course many years ago, I heard the phrase, ‘A complaint is a gift’ and I take that mantra to work with me every day,” she said.

“I have an open-door approach and by taking the time to stop and chat, I’ve learnt so much about my community. Like, who might need help with firewood over winter, or who might be feeling especially lonely during lockdown.

“It’s about taking the bad with the good and I try to help where I can and hopefully make a difference.”

OceanaGold recognises the importance of creating and running effective operational level grievance mechanisms to:

  • Help remediate harm for which OceanaGold identifies it has caused or contributed to
  • To act as an early warning system to prevent escalation and potential outbreak of conflicts
  • To provide critical information for broader human rights due diligence processes.

OceanaGold is committed to the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights – the fundamental instrument for preventing and addressing risk of adverse impacts on human rights linked to business activity – which sets expectations around remediation and participation in effective grievance mechanisms.

OceanaGold is also a member of the United Nations Global Compact where it commits to respect human rights.

Find out more at https://oceanagold.com/sustainability/social-performance/our-approach/

Fresh research to support New Zealand’s rarest frog
Fresh research to support New Zealand’s rarest frog
New vehicle revs up Waihī LandSAR
New vehicle revs up Waihī LandSAR
Putting young people in the driver’s seat
Putting young people in the driver’s seat

2021 saw OceanaGold release its first Modern Slavery statement to address how the company will assess and monitor its exposure to modern slavery risks. It forms part of the approach to human rights as the company works toward implementing all 10 of the World Gold Council’s Responsible Gold Mining Principles by 2022.

The latest Global Slavery Index, published in 2018, showed there were 40.3 million people living in modern slavery in 2016, 71 per cent of them women and girls. And closer to home, the International Labour Organisation and Australian anti-slavery organisation, Walk Free, estimates there are 15,000 people being kept in slave-like conditions in Australia.*

“Sadly, modern slavery is a challenge that exists globally,” OceanaGold’s Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Liang Tang, said. “As a responsible multinational mining company, we want to make sure we’re taking the right approach, so we are not causing or contributing to modern slavery.”

In 2018, Australia passed the Modern Slavery Act 2018, which requires entities that have an annual consolidated revenue of more than $100 million to report annually on the risks of modern slavery in their operations and supply chains, and actions to address those risks.

As a Reporting Entity under the Act, OceanaGold is required to prepare a statement that outlines the risks of modern slavery practices in its operations and supply chains, and those of any entities it owns or controls, for each financial year.

In June 2021, OceanaGold released its first Modern Slavery Statement to report on the work undertaken in 2020. This included reviewing its tier one supply chain and assessing suppliers’ inherent risks on a low-to-high scale.

“Modern slavery exploits vulnerable people and abuses their basic human rights,” Liang said. “It’s a complex issue and not necessarily one that’s easy to identify.”

“Addressing potential modern slavery risks is complex and we are in the early stages of our work. At OceanaGold knowledge is one of our values and our approach to modern slavery risk and our annual Modern Slavery Statements will focus on continuous improvement.”

The approach is backed by the OceanaGold Board of Directors and Executive Committee who are committed to developing a framework that will help the company better understand potential modern slavery risks and guide its response.

“Earning the right to operate long into the future means understanding our broader societal impacts and working closely with suppliers, communities, governments and global organisations to maintain our high standards and continue to enhance our practices over time.”

“We look forward to sharing our progress in our future statements.”

*Source: https://www.sbs.com.au/news/australia-s-modern-slaves-are-a-real-mix-and-they-are-suffering-in-silence

Fresh research to support New Zealand’s rarest frog
Fresh research to support New Zealand’s rarest frog
New vehicle revs up Waihī LandSAR
New vehicle revs up Waihī LandSAR
Putting young people in the driver’s seat
Putting young people in the driver’s seat

Geology underpins the development of resource estimates, and making predictions is all in a day’s work for geologists. But it’s the collaborative effort across multiple disciplines at OceanaGold that makes a project evaluation successful.

When describing what it’s like to work as a geologist for multinational gold miner OceanaGold, Chief Geologist Jon Moore says there is a real sense of achievement as projects develop into operating mines.

“Much of what we do is about combining geological observations from rock exposure and drill core with geochemical assays* to produce statistical estimates,” he said. “We need statistics because we typically only assay three or four teaspoons-worth of sample for each Olympic swimming pool-sized volume of rock. And those teaspoons might only have one or two parts per million of gold in them.”

“Evaluating a new project is a team effort – geologists, engineers, metallurgists, environmental scientists, safety, legal and community specialists to determine the risks, value and opportunities.”

“There’s a huge responsibility that comes with that.”

And with 25 years’ experience at OceanaGold, Jon has been involved in much of the company’s growth and success, from its original home at Macraes in New Zealand’s South Island, to its expansion in-country, and then internationally to operations in the Philippines and the United States.

“The company started in 1990 as an open pit operation at Macraes and by 2008 had successfully added the Frasers Underground at that operation, and the Globe Progress Mine at Reefton in New Zealand’s South Island,” he said.

“During that period, OceanaGold built technical capacity and team culture, positioning us to develop Didipio.”

The Didipio Mine in the Philippines provided a step change in terms of challenges: operating internationally, learning to operate in another culture and tropical climate, building road access and infrastructure in a remote location, becoming a first-time copper producer, and listing under the TSX regulatory framework.

“Initially, the geological challenges were to rebuild the gold-copper estimate from first principles, starting with the validation of existing geological and geochemical data,” he said.

“Much of the data was traced back to boxes of dust-laden electronic drives and hard copy reports accumulated over the years. It was fascinating work, and the project owes much of its success to the dedication of previous workers.”

Jon said once mining commenced, the geology team’s focus was no longer solely on the mining of ore with work continuing across all stages of a mine’s development.

“Before we commit to a project, we look at the quantity and quality of the orebody, we assess the opportunities for exploration success and growth as well as any environmental and other considerations,” he said.

“Once the operation is successfully commissioned, we transition to operational support, mentoring and governance functions. More recently the focus has been on building common systems across our operations.”

With operations across three continents, OceanaGold’s mines comprise remarkably diverse geology contexts which require different approaches to estimation and mining, but the underlying processes are the same.

“The deposits range from narrow sub-vertical gold-silver vein deposits at Waihi, to moderately-dipping metasediment-hosted gold-silver mineralisation at Macraes and Haile, through to the sub-vertical gold-copper porphyry orebody at Didipio,” Jon said.

“Each brings their own challenges during the technical study and project development phases.”

Jon said there was significant growth potential at all OceanaGold operations with the Waihi Operation a great example of the ‘long game’ in the mining industry.

He said OceanaGold acquired the mine in 2015, seeing large growth potential in the Martha deposit as well as in the district in general. The company received consent to develop the Martha Underground in early 2019, which will extend the life of the Waihi mine by many years.

“The extensive mining history at Waihi, spanning approximately 140 years, not only reflects a world-class gold endowment, but also an evolved and highly skilled geology and mining culture,” he said.”

“Historical mine sections and plans allowed the Waihi geology team to reconstruct the architecture of the entire Waihi Mine vein system.”

“A three-dimensional block model was created which provided the framework for conceptual mine planning as well as the basis for staged infill core drilling to incrementally improve our confidence in the geology and mineralisation and prove up resources and reserves.

“Six years on, the Waihi development pipeline speaks for itself.”

In 2021, with the Martha Underground mine now in production OceanaGold has commenced a process to extend the life of mining through the development of the Waihi District including the proposed Waihi North and Martha Open Pit Projects.

*An assay is a process of analyzing a substance to determine its concentration, composition or quality, typically used in the mining industry to refer to tests of mineralisation or minerals.

First production from Golden Point Underground at Macraes
First production from Golden Point Underground at Macraes
New life for one of New Zealand’s oldest gold mines
New life for one of New Zealand’s oldest gold mines
Responding in a pandemic
Responding in a pandemic

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.

Fresh research to support New Zealand’s rarest frog
Fresh research to support New Zealand’s rarest frog
New vehicle revs up Waihī LandSAR
New vehicle revs up Waihī LandSAR
Putting young people in the driver’s seat
Putting young people in the driver’s seat

This case study was originally published by Beca at https://www.beca.com/what-we-do/projects/industrial/oceana-gold-energy-transition-acceleration-study

New Zealand’s largest gold producer OceanaGold are determined to reduce emissions at their Macraes mine in Central Otago. And Beca are right beside them, developing an Energy Transition Acceleration study that provides a pathway to a greener future.

Producing over 172,000 oz of gold per annum and employing more than 600 people, the Macraes Operation north of Dunedin is New Zealand’s largest and a key operational asset in OceanaGold’s broader portfolio.

As participants in the New Zealand government’s ETA (Energy Transition Accelerator) program, OceanaGold are focussed on reducing their greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) at their Macraes site to not only improve the sustainability of their product, but also reduce their energy costs.

That’s where Beca entered the picture. As programme partners with the ETA, our Industrial Sustainability and Engineering teams worked closely with OceanaGold management to develop an Energy Transition Accelerator Study that identified a practical emissions reduction pathway for their business.

Key opportunities for reducing their GHG emissions include harnessing:

  • Waste heat recovery
  • Fuel switching
  • Solar lighting towers
  • Electric elution hot water heating
  • Battery-powered electric trucks (to transport ore around the mine), and
  • Electrification of excavators

Taken together, these practical abatement measures can reduce emissions from the Macraes goldmine by a substantial 37%, whilst additional measures – such as the use of renewable energy sources on site could increase this figure to 59%.

With this study now complete, Beca are ready to support OceanaGold in implementing the identified recommendations over coming years – with some of these options also applicable to their Waihi mine on the North Island.

Suddenly, the future is looking golden!

Fresh research to support New Zealand’s rarest frog
Fresh research to support New Zealand’s rarest frog
New vehicle revs up Waihī LandSAR
New vehicle revs up Waihī LandSAR
Putting young people in the driver’s seat
Putting young people in the driver’s seat

Our operations employ experts and specialised equipment to provide rescue and safety services at our mines. Our teams also assist local emergency and rescue teams. To be a member of an OceanaGold Mines and Rescue Emergency Response Team, each team member is required to maintain their skills and physical fitness.

OceanaGold’s highly skilled Mines Rescue and Emergency Response Teams manage all emergency response equipment and implement the operational Emergency Response Program at each of our operations.

The teams are trained and certified in all areas of incident response including fire, underground search and rescue, vertical rope rescue, vehicle extraction, pre-hospital emergency care, hazardous material response and medical and accident response. They facilitate emergency response training onsite, and within host and adjacent communities as required or requested.

As part of our Waihi Operation’s commitment to the community, we have established strong relationships with local emergency services to assist with community events such as rope rescues, assisting at traffic accidents, and providing additional help to the local Coast Guard.

“Regular exercises and liaison with these groups has broadened the team’s experience and also allowed the community emergency response units to be aware of the equipment and skills the Mines Rescue Team has to offer,” said Waihi Operation Emergency Response Coordinator Jed Moriarty.

To ensure team members maintain strong physical fitness to assist in these events, each year they are required to complete a Physical Competency Test (PCT). At our Waihi Operation, this involves completing a series of tasks within a one-hour period while wearing an open circuit breathing apparatus. The course, which must be completed twice by each team member within one hour, includes weight-bearing exercises involving up walking up steep inclines, over sets of stairs, filling a drum with wet sand and crawling through confined tunnels. Our Macraes Operation team members undergo a similar program called a ‘Functional Capacity Test’.

“The goal is to record a low heart rate at the completion of the course, and after a 10-minutes rest, bring their heart rate down to as close to their resting heart rate as possible,” Jed said.

Each year our Mines Rescue Teams from Waihi and Macraes participate in the Leukaemia Foundation’s Sky Tower Stair Challenge to raise funds for Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand.

This event sees firefighters and emergency rescue teams from throughout New Zealand gather in Auckland in full rescue equipment and take on the Sky Tower Stair Challenge – 328 metres, 1103 steps, 51 flights of stairs to the top of the Sky Tower. In 2021 the teams raised over NZ$41,000 to support Leukaemia and Blood Cancer New Zealand.

The participants are the first to admit the climb is not for the faint hearted but point out they already have a good level of fitness to build on. They say the real challenge is fundraising, but they have been generously supported by the company, businesses and individuals in the past.

Macraes Emergency Response Coordinator  Steve Renton said: “Nothing can really prepare you for what you are going to encounter on the day, and having done it about six times now, it’s just a case of start at the bottom and keep on going till you get to the top.”

At our Haile Operation, the focus for our Underground Rescue Team has been preparing for underground mining and the emergency response challenges this presents, with equipment being purchased and a new training regime being implemented.

Trainer Rusty Duncan said there were strict regulations in place for both equipment and training. “You need 20 hours of BG4 training, 50 hours of medical training, 50 hours of HAZMAT and 50 hours of confined space training and then there’s rope rescue training on top of that,” he said.

To assist with this, the team used three shipping containers and large tubing to build an underground environment that closely simulated an underground emergency situation.

Rusty said the team’s goal had always been to do as much training in house as possible.

“I want other Mine Rescue teams to look at us and see our training facility and think it’s something they would want to come to,” he said.

As the largest gold mining operation on the east coast of the United States, Haile’s Underground Rescue Team will be the only gold mining rescue team in the area.

Trainer Genalee Jones, who joined the Haile team with prior underground experience, says the team is more than up for the challenge.

“I’ve seen a lot of mine rescue teams. And I’ve seen a lot of competition teams. From day one, this is the best group I’ve seen. We’re not a bunch of co-workers. We’re family.”

Brand new challenges await, but the group is eager to keep going and proud to look back at how far the journey has taken them.

“I’m really looking forward to this. We’re in this together and we’re going to support each other just like families do,” Genalee said.

First production from Golden Point Underground at Macraes
First production from Golden Point Underground at Macraes
New life for one of New Zealand’s oldest gold mines
New life for one of New Zealand’s oldest gold mines
Responding in a pandemic
Responding in a pandemic

OceanaGold has commenced an organisational journey – enhancing the management of tailings storage facilities in alignment with the requirements of the new Global Industry Standard for Tailings Management (GISTM).

In the wake of the 2019 catastrophic dam collapse of the Corrego de Deijao mine in Brumidinho, Brazil – a human and environmental tragedy – concerned investors, environmental leaders and the mining industry took action.

The International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) co-convened the Global Tailings Review to establish an international standard that provides a framework for the safer management of tailings storage facilities (TSFs). It resulted in the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management, which was released in August last year.

OceanaGold recognises that tailings management and the structural integrity of its TSFs are critical to community safety and environmental protection.

“Safe, sustainable tailings management is just as critical to our business as extracting gold,” said Greg Scanlan, OceanaGold’s Head of Health, Safety and Environment.

“And we have just as big an obligation to protect our community and environment as we do our own people,” he said.

“TSFs are part and parcel of the gold mining industry – it’s our responsibility to ensure we manage them safely and continually refine our processes to innovate and support industry best-practice.”

OceanaGold released a TSF Statement of Position in 2019, which commits the company to designing, constructing and managing TSFs in compliance with all host country regulations, and where applicable, any additional requirements consistent with its TSF management standards and framework. The company also ruled out constructing any new upstream tailings storage facilities.

In 2020, the company strengthened its focus on safe tailings storage by forming a Tailings Governance Committee. The Committee meets regularly to ensure a robust governance and review process occurs for every TSF across the company’s global operations and includes the use of external third-party technical expertise.

In June 2021, the company released an updated TSF Statement of Position specifically committing to meeting the requirements of the GISTM. Recognising the critical importance of making big strides towards meeting the new global industry standards, the company is implementing a new accountability and governance framework to ensure there is a clear separation between operations and governance functions. This includes appointing “accountable executives” who also chair the Tailings Governance Committee. The President and CEO is an active supporter and member of this committee.

Key areas of focus for the committee are:

  • Separate internal TSF governance functions from operational functions
  • Report independently and directly to the company Board of Directors on TSF operational performance and governance processes
  • Apply innovation and new technology to minimise risks of TSF failure
  • Ensure meaningfully engagement with affected parties and fully assess social, economic and environmental impacts, integrating feedback, concerns and mitigations into TSF design and management.

OceanaGold places a strong focus on all stages of the TSF lifecycle from design, construction management and closure.

“It’s not good enough to be ‘good enough. We need to be diligent and thorough to ensure the safety of our people and communities and to support and encourage the whole mining industry to adopt standards and work practices that prevent any recurrence of catastrophic structural failures,” Greg said.

Fresh research to support New Zealand’s rarest frog
Fresh research to support New Zealand’s rarest frog
New vehicle revs up Waihī LandSAR
New vehicle revs up Waihī LandSAR
Putting young people in the driver’s seat
Putting young people in the driver’s seat

After assessing its human rights risk exposure in 2019, the Haile Gold Mine is implementing an action plan that will strengthen measures to safeguard employees and stakeholders from human rights impacts.

A Human Rights Impact Assessment (HRIA) undertaken at the Haile Gold Mine in the United States has found a number of opportunities to strengthen the operation’s human rights risk mitigation measures.

In keeping with its Human Rights Policy, each of OceanaGold’s operations are required to conduct a HRIA to identify how their activities could potentially cause, contribute or are directly linked to a breach of human rights. The Policy reflects the requirements of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the UN Declaration of Human Rights and other international frameworks.

Haile Gold Mine External Affairs & Social Performance Manager, Kevin Cook, said the company’s value of knowledge was fundamental to culture and organisational growth.

“At Haile, we assessed our performance against the full set of internationally recognised human rights benchmarks,” Kevin said.

“Across OceanaGold each operation will conduct HRIAs every two years, or more regularly if a material change occurs, to assess human rights risks and address any gaps in our policies, processes and practices. This determines the most salient human rights risks for our employees, contractors, supply chain workers and communities,” he said.

“Following our assessment at the Haile Gold Mine, we found we have a robust approach to human rights risks, however there were gaps in our mitigation measures that provided an opportunity to strengthen our management systems including improving human rights training for our employees.”

The assessment was conducted with the assistance of independent human rights experts, Article One. The process included a desktop review of documentation, interviews and focus groups with rightsholders and stakeholders including OceanaGold and vendor employees, management, contractors, community groups, government agencies and civil society.

“With an extensive 2021 capital works program, including the development of the Haile Underground, it is incredibly important we understand and mitigate any human rights risks that have the potential to cause harm to our operation or the people that work with us,” Kevin said.

Social Performance Advisor, Danielle Crawford said Human rights risks were mapped highlighting the causal relationship between the company and the risks to people, and then they are prioritised based on their actual or potential impact. Where HRIAs identify any human rights risks, an action plan is developed to either eliminate or mitigate those risks.

“The action plans are monitored and reported to OceanaGold’s Executive Committee as they form part of our global External Affairs and Social Performance key performance indicators,” Danielle said.

The Haile HRIA Action Plan includes remediating actions such as enhancing family benefits for employees, engaging staff in 360 feedback processes, updating policies around the hiring of security personnel, and formalising relationships with local law enforcement agencies as part of regular security risk assessments.

The Haile Gold Mine will also ensure that all contracted workers operate under contracts with embedded human rights expectations and will strengthen its human rights due diligence processes when hiring contractors and suppliers.

Fresh research to support New Zealand’s rarest frog
Fresh research to support New Zealand’s rarest frog
New vehicle revs up Waihī LandSAR
New vehicle revs up Waihī LandSAR
Putting young people in the driver’s seat
Putting young people in the driver’s seat

OceanaGold has raised the bar to further-protect the long-term health and wellbeing of its employees.   

OceanaGold has strengthened its focus on occupational health monitoring, which involves routinely monitoring and managing employees’ potential exposure to harmful workplace environments, including airborne and biological contaminants generated by mining practices – such as inhalable dust, respirable silica and diesel particulate matter as well as physical mining conditions such as noise and vibration.

The monitoring program is part of a three-year Occupational Hygiene Management Plan, developed in 2020, after a review and update of the company’s Occupational Exposure Management Guideline.

Following best practice global guidelines, each operation conducted a risk review of occupational hygiene exposure using an independent Certified Occupational Hygienist. The review identified the opportunities to make the data collection and management process more robust by collecting additional data and changing the frequency of monitoring at each site.

Head of Health, Safety & Environment, Greg Scanlan, said the occupational hygiene exposure review highlighted opportunities to engage additional resources and to apply a common framework and Standard across its global operations.

“Ensuring all staff – no matter their location – have access to the same understanding of exposure risks and the same level of controls to protect their long-term health is our goal,” Greg said.

“We have employed dedicated Occupational Hygiene Technicians across our operations in New Zealand and the United States, allowing each operation to better-monitor and understand potential health risks,” he said.

The monitoring program involves looking at biological stressors (bacteria, virus, fungi, and mould, and blood-borne pathogens), chemical stressors (acids, bases, heavy metals, solvents, particulates, vapours, fumes), and physical stressors (noise, heat, cold, vibration).

Through targeted and statistically valid workplace exposure monitoring and the implementation of high order controls (longer-term solutions), the company can more effectively manage exposures to our workforce and remove potential affects to their long-term health.

“In the past, we have undertaken extensive sampling, but now we have a more comprehensive set of baseline data to help understand the exposure profiles of workers at each operation,” Greg said.

“By always improving the way we monitor employee health, we are not only ensuring we meet regulatory obligations, we are investing in the long-term health and wellbeing of our employees,” he said.

Fresh research to support New Zealand’s rarest frog
Fresh research to support New Zealand’s rarest frog
New vehicle revs up Waihī LandSAR
New vehicle revs up Waihī LandSAR
Putting young people in the driver’s seat
Putting young people in the driver’s seat

A 10-year career in community relations at OceanaGold’s Didipio Mine in the Philippines has turned into the operational role that local Didipian, Reynaldo Pugong Jr, has always dreamed of.

Having just graduated from university with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, and living and working in Manila, Reynaldo Pugong Jr (known as Rey) received an urgent call from his mother telling him to come home to the barangay (village) where he was born – Didipio.

Thankfully, it wasn’t an emergency. Rey’s mum wanted him home because OceanaGold had started a process to re-open the Didipio Mine, which it acquired in 2006 through a merger with Climax Mining Ltd.

The company was recruiting a Community Relations Assistant to engage with the local community as part of the mine design and construction process, and being a local Didipian, Rey’s mum thought he would be the perfect candidate. She was right.

“It was an opportunity too good to refuse – working with a global miner in my hometown. Of course, I applied, and I was lucky enough to succeed,” Rey said.

And over the last 10 years, succeed is what Rey has done. Through learning on the job opportunities and close mentorship from his senior peers, Rey’s career has forged ahead at Didipio.

Rey was first was promoted in 2013 to a more senior role in the Community Relations Team and over the five years that followed, he contributed to developing and delivering the region’s first ever local capacity building program which included providing more than 10,000 hours of pre-employment training each year across the region. In the process, Rey developed invaluable and life-long relationships with residents in the host community of Didipio and in adjacent barangays.

“At OceanaGold, for those directly affected communities and stakeholders – those who are most impacted by our operations – we seek to obtain and sustain a broad base of support,” Rey said.

“Relationships take time to foster and I’m most proud of the sustained, mutual effort between our team and the broader community, including the local government, to get the Didipio Mine fully operational and producing by 2013.”

Marjorie Idio, Communications and External Affairs Superintendent and one of Rey’s mentors, agreed: “Rey understands Didipio in ways only a local can. His energy, determination, and passion for improving people’s lives was channelled into our programs that provided educational opportunities and built local capacity that otherwise wouldn’t have happened in this agricultural landscape,” she said.

“Rey is a team player and action-oriented, qualities we value at OceanaGold. So, while Rey worked to build the skills of people in the community, we worked with Rey on building his career.”

In 2017, Rey’s career path verged a little to the left as he started to explore the idea of moving into an operational role. With no technical experience, the company supported his career aspirations and developed him into an Operator at its paste backfill plant – the first of its kind in the Philippines.

Rey’s competence in the paste plant group was achieved though hands-on training, self-development, and close mentoring by his group leaders. Again, Rey’s steadfast determination and hard work paid off when he was promoted in 2018 to Paste Plant Supervisor.

Didipio’s People, Culture and Technology Manager, Vanessa Aliaga, said Rey’s valuable community relationships would greatly benefit his new operational role – and the company more broadly – as he was trained to consider the mine’s potential impacts, mitigations and most importantly, its legacy.

“The awareness and understanding gained from first-hand experience living and working in the community is invaluable when making operational decisions,” Vanessa said.

Now raising a family of his own in Didipio, Rey is determined to continue building leadership skills to foster his career growth at OceanaGold.

“Not long ago, through funding from OceanaGold, we supported the education of the first local mining engineer and the first geologist to be born right here in Didipio,” Rey said.

“If the mine continues operating here, the opportunities available to my children will be endless – as a father and a proud Didipian, that’s all I could ask for.”

The value we bring, and create, at OceanaGold
The value we bring, and create, at OceanaGold
Employee testimonial: Justin Johns, Waihi Operation Process Manager
Employee testimonial: Justin Johns, Waihi Operation Process Manager
Creating a workplace destination of choice by fostering belonging
Creating a workplace destination of choice by fostering belonging

Responsible environmental management is about more than just land, air and water. Whether it’s preserving artifacts uncovered on the mine site, relocating an old schoolhouse, restoring a historical train depot, or protecting the resting place of the community’s loved ones, the Haile Gold Mine is focused on being good stewards of the area’s cultural resources.

The team at the Haile Gold Mine have been working with cultural resource management firm, R.S. Webb and Associates, who have recently completed archaeological work at the site and discovered many interesting archaeological pieces.

Senior Archaeologist Ken Styer said a person would have to have a unique passion for artifacts to appreciate the kind of items found, but that the historical significance was great. The objects paint a picture of the earliest inhabitants of the area and their activities.

“What many commonly call ‘arrowheads’ are more appropriately called projectile points in the archaeological world. Not everything that looks like an arrowhead was used on the end of a spear,” Styer said.

“Most of these are multi-purpose tools for a cutting edge or a dart or spearpoint. Some are more of your scraper tools,” he said.

Arch site 642 at Haile is a large area that presented physical integrity (has not been disturbed) during early testing. According to Styer, this means initial phases of shovel testing indicated that there were enough artifact clusters to be able to collect usable data.

The items are estimated to be nearly 6,000 years old and feature mostly Morrow Mountain projectile points. Archaeologists use various terms to establish a technology timeline for projectile points. Morrow Mountain points are from the Middle Archaic period, estimated to be between 3,000 and 6,000 years old.

“The vast majority of everything we get is lithic (stone) tools or lithic tool related. Ceramics are in the upper levels [of the timeline] about 3,000 years later,” Styer said.

The Woodland period of the timeline, which began about 1,000 years ago, is the first known appearance of the various pottery items Styer refers to.

The Haile Gold Mine contracts R.S. Webb and Associates when digging is planned for previously undisturbed portions of the site. To protect the site’s cultural resources, the firm comes in and excavates all significant and potentially datable items. Once their work is complete, the mine proceeds with clearing the area.

“Archaeological excavation methods are very labor intensive. We come out and do a survey, then line up every 30 meters and dig a hole and screen the dirt. You move down the line every 100 feet,” Styer said.

The standard field excavation procedure calls for the removal of dirt in unit levels at 10-centimeter increments. Using a shovel, dirt is carefully removed from each level and placed into a 2×3 screen box, which pivots on one leg. The box is shaken forcefully back and forth to screen the loose soil through the mesh. Anything remaining on the screen might be something worth getting excited over.

Photos: Removing dirt in a standard archeological procedure that involves excavating at 10-centimeter increment and sifting it in a screen box to locate solid objects.

“I’m liking these sites. I’ve worked up in the sandhills for a long time, and you find a lot of sites but it’s hard to find any with physical integrity. Things just filter on through. Finding intact deposits is very exciting,” Styer said.

The excavation process doesn’t always have to start from scratch. The area is full of other known sites where stories of discovered arrowheads and the artifacts themselves are passed down from generation to generation. When this is the case, less shovel testing is needed as the group can more easily pinpoint the location of artifacts.

At the completion of excavation, Styer and his team return to their lab in Georgia to begin analysis.

The goal is to more accurately identify the period using the radiocarbon dating method and quantify the findings. Broken pieces of cooking stone were some of the more interesting findings during the recent dig. According to Styer, the stone would have been placed on top of a fire to heat up the food.

“I have never seen one out of sandstone. Usually, what you’ll get is steatite, which is soapstone, that you’ll get in the Piedmont. It’s definitely a little bit exciting,” Styer said.

Field analysis of the stone indicated that it had been penetrated at the center, which Styer said could have been to help facilitate carrying it around.

The group also discovered chunkey stones on the property. These disc-shaped stones were used in Native American cultures as a game with a lot potentially on the line. The stone is first rolled across the ground and participants threw spears at the stone to see who could get closest. Anything from food and blankets to a participant’s entire home could be at stake.

Evidence of this type of activity helps determine the type of inhabitants in the area. Styer said as far back as the Haile artifacts go, it’s impossible to associate with any known tribes.

“The North American continent was inhabited 14,000 years ago by people chasing mastodons and bison. They were all strict hunter gatherers. At a mobile camp, you won’t get cooking stones,” Styer said.

“This site is more the tail end of hunter gatherers. Here, they are spending a little bit of time,” he said.

Upon completion of all artifact analysis, items are returned to the Haile Gold Mine Depot and are on display for all the community to enjoy.

Photo: Ken Styer of R.S. Webb and Associates displays some of the projectile points found at the mine during recent archeological excavations.

Fresh research to support New Zealand’s rarest frog
Fresh research to support New Zealand’s rarest frog
New vehicle revs up Waihī LandSAR
New vehicle revs up Waihī LandSAR
Putting young people in the driver’s seat
Putting young people in the driver’s seat

OceanaGold’s Waihi Operation has undertaken a critical workplace design assessment to deliver better wellbeing and workplace engagement outcomes for its female employees, with the results to be implemented across the company’s global operations.

With low turnover and a predominantly male underground workforce, the management team at OceanaGold’s Waihi Operation, in New Zealand’s North Island, has commenced a journey to increase female participation and promote a more inclusive work environment.

“There is a really strong desire by the whole team – and more broadly across OceanaGold – to increase diversity, equity and inclusion across our workplaces, especially in roles traditionally perceived to be ‘male only’, such as underground operations,” said OceanaGold’s New Zealand People and Culture Manager, Brigid Quinn.

“What we know is that modern mining workplaces are based on male centred design – that’s not a criticism of OceanaGold or any other mining company – it’s simply because, in the past, predominantly only males were employed for such labour-intensive work and these roles attracted males more than females,” she said.

“And quite possibly, that’s why there’s a strong perception in our community – which makes up most of our workforce – that underground roles are only suitable for men.”

“We‘ve set out to change that perception, but first, we need to better understand how our environment can adapt to ensure we attract and retain growing numbers of females in operational roles so they feel at ease with their workplace environment and conditions.”

The Waihi team engaged female inclusion expert and Director at Shesfreetobe, Kristy Christensen, to undertake a Workplace Design Assessment called ‘A Day in Her Life.’

The assessment reviewed both the surface and underground layouts at Waihi (including job design, equipment design and facilities), PPE (personal protective equipment) provisions and site policies against the health, safety and wellbeing needs of female employees.

Kristy confirmed our experience; the small female talent pool in the New Zealand mining industry made it highly competitive, and that OceanaGold needed to invest in ways to make the company, and industry, a more desirable destination for a long-term career.

“In such a traditionally male dominated industry, it’s vital that mining companies support women’s bespoke requirements to ensure they thrive, particularly in underground environments,” Kristy said.

“Female participation is increasing across the sector, and workforce design requires a re-think to ensure businesses recognise and address these needs,” she said.

As an immediate outcome of the assessment, OceanaGold took a closer look at the role of a ‘nipper’ – an entry-level position that supports a jumbo operator. This is important because the career progression from here sees employees advance to a truck driver, service crew, bogger and then a jumbo operator.

Brigid said the role is quite physical in nature, requiring the person to move a range of equipment in support of the jumbo operator, and that could potentially discourage women to apply.

“We have introduced a ‘trainee mine operator’ role, which gives all applicants a 10-week opportunity to work as both a nipper and truck driver,” Brigid said.

“This is an opportunity to provide a thorough overview of underground mine operations and the career pathways each entry-level role offers, and importantly, to lighten the load of the very physical nipper role by adding trucking into the mix,” she said.

While the findings may have challenged traditional thinking, OceanaGold has embraced the recommendations – not just at the Waihi Operation, but globally – and will incrementally implement them in 2021.

“The shift we are making to a constructive organisational culture isn’t just about the mindset of leaders and creating a psychologically safe environment,” said Graham Almond, Executive Vice President People, Culture and Technology.

“It’s about delivering on and keeping the promise of our Values and recognising a diverse and inclusive workforce gives us the best shot at delivering enduring value for our shareholders and stakeholders alike,” he said.

I’ll be reporting our progress to the Board’s Remuneration, People and Culture Committee throughout the year.”

Other workplace design changes will be incrementally implemented across the company as part of a strengthened global focus on workplace diversity and inclusion, including:

  • PPE – ensuring a size-inclusive women’s range is readily available (not just offering a men’s range in smaller sizes, for example), offering a maternity range, and changes to harnesses to avoid pressure on the chest
  • Facilities – increasing sanitary provisions in underground environments
  • Flexible work provisions – assessing opportunities to accommodate different roster patterns
  • Policy – introduction of the Fair Employment Policy.

“We hope these changes will help to entice a new generation of women from diverse backgrounds to choose OceanaGold as the destination to grow their career,” Brigid said.

The value we bring, and create, at OceanaGold
The value we bring, and create, at OceanaGold
Employee testimonial: Justin Johns, Waihi Operation Process Manager
Employee testimonial: Justin Johns, Waihi Operation Process Manager
Creating a workplace destination of choice by fostering belonging
Creating a workplace destination of choice by fostering belonging

Our Deepdell North Stage Three Project at the Macraes Operation will unlock future development opportunities at the mine, extending its life by two years. The local community, iwi (Maori) and government contributed to the final design and helped improve biodiversity outcomes.

In late 2020, the Macraes Operation in the South Island of New Zealand consented (permitted) three projects that extended the life of the mine to at least 2028. One of these projects was the Deepdell North Stage Three Project, which expands the existing Deepdell Open Pit.

For the operation, extending the mine’s life means continuing to support jobs, partnerships and making a meaningful economic, social and environmental contribution.

The project includes extending the open pit and creating a new waste rock stack. In developing the project plans, the Macraes Operation hosted a series of meetings and site visits with representatives from the Macraes community, the Department of Conservation, iwi, and the Otago Regional and Waitaki District Councils.

The Macraes Operation’s Environment and Community Manager, Gavin Lee, said they investigated a range of designs to balance technical, social and environmental values.

“We worked methodically through the mitigation hierarchy with stakeholders. That starts with avoidance and ends with delivering positive social and environmental outcomes,” Gavin said.

“It’s not about choosing social or environmental values over commercial; we believe we have an operation that delivers both,” he said.

“We knew there was likely going to be differences of opinion when it came to our mine design and we wanted to understand those views early. In line with the Informed Consultation and Participation (ICP) principles, we hosted onsite meetings to bring the Councils, Department of Conservation and members of the local community. We provided an outline of our preliminary mine design and asked them to share their thoughts. It was a powerful experience as they weren’t just talking to us, they were talking to each other. We then had ongoing individual conversations to discuss potential issues and proposed mitigations.”

“As a result of the stakeholder feedback and analysis undertaken during this process, it became clear that the original preferred option had serious flaws and we needed to go back to the drawing board and redesign the waste rock stack at a much better location. This meant we would better-balance our overall impact and contribute to long-term social and ecological benefits to the region.”

“The final design allows for better water management and control of downstream water quality to avoid impacts to threatened flora and fauna species, habitats and heritage features. And its location ensures amenity impacts (such as noise) on the closest neighbour were minimised.”

To demonstrate no net loss of biodiversity (meaning, the biodiversity condition is as good, or better, as a result of mining), OceanaGold methodically stepped through the other elements of the mitigation hierarchy: minimise, restore, offset and compensate.

Some habitat clearing for the mine’s operations cannot be avoided, so the Macraes Environment and Community Team worked with the local farming community to identify appropriate locations for biodiversity offsets. With the help of ecologist, Mike Thorsen, from Ahika Limited, OceanaGold agreed with a local farmer to conserve an ephemeral wetland (a wetland that is wet only seasonally or in wet years).

“A farmer, an ecologist and a miner in a discussion sounds like the start of a bad joke, but we were able to establish benefits for each party,” Gavin said.

“Another aspect that cannot be avoided is impacts to lizard populations. This is inherently important for the Otago region, which is rich in biodiversity. The Macraes area is well is known for its vibrant landscape, including an abundant lizard habitat,” he said.

As part of the commitment to no net loss of lizard populations for the project, the team worked closely with the Department of Conservation and iwi to relocate two threatened lizard species. This was completed in early March 2021, and the team successfully relocated 1,200 Korero Geckos (found in the crevices of rocky tors – a large, freestanding rock outcrop) and 250 Southern Grass Skinks (which like to live in moist, grassy areas).

“We are doing more than just relocating the lizard populations. We are also re-establishing their habitat on our rehabilitated waste rock stacks and we are committed to helping the lizard populations thrive through a multifaceted 10-year research program,” Gavin said.

“As an industry, we are responsible for the legacy we leave for the communities in which we work, and that goes for all creatures – great and small,” he said.

Photos of the construction of rocky tors, providing lizard habitats as part of the progressive rehabilitation program at Macraes.

Fresh research to support New Zealand’s rarest frog
Fresh research to support New Zealand’s rarest frog
New vehicle revs up Waihī LandSAR
New vehicle revs up Waihī LandSAR
Putting young people in the driver’s seat
Putting young people in the driver’s seat

In the years since the reopening of the Haile Gold Mine in South Carolina, OceanaGold has found itself at the center of an economic renewal in the rural, historic region.

It has been nearly 200 years since gold was first discovered on the property of Captain Benjamin Haile in South Carolina. Today, OceanaGold’s modern day Haile Gold Mine carries on area’s long tradition of pouring gold using the very best state-of the-art and environmentally conscious technology and techniques.

OceanaGold celebrated the first gold pour at the modern Haile Gold Mine in 2017, starting a new chapter in the rich history of the region. Less than a year later, researchers with the prestigious Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina released a detailed analysis of the Mine’s socio-economic impact on the area, taking into account the anticipated life of the operation. The economic impact report concluded what local residents had been saying in recent years: the modern-day gold mine was breathing life back into an economically declining town.

Kershaw, South Carolina, has a population of around 2,400 and sits less than 6 miles from the processing operation at the mine. Although gold mining is part of the town’s history, its economic roots were in textiles. In the mid 1970’s, like in many other parts of the country, the textile industry began to close factories in the United States and move their operations overseas. Kershaw was not immune to the drastic economic shift, and the town’s residents soon found themselves out of work and forced to look elsewhere for jobs. The locally owned small businesses that once provided support to the community started to close, the houses and streets started to empty as families moved away, and the town itself seemed to grow quieter. For the following two decades, Kershaw would fight for its survival. Then in 2007, gold was rediscovered at Haile, and Kershaw was given a new chance at prosperity.

In 2021, with Haile Gold Mine at the heart of its economic renewal, Kershaw finds itself invigorated and looking brightly towards the future. With more than 800 people (including contractors) working at the 24-hour mining operation, families are moving back to the area, new businesses are opening up, and renewed hope for this small town has sprung forth.

The numbers back up this renewed sense of hope. According to the Economic Impact Analysis, the Haile Gold Mine generates US$87 million each year in positive economic impact to Lancaster County, where the mine is located. According to researchers, the US$87 million “figure reflects the dollar value representing all final goods and services produced in Lancaster County that can be attributed (either directly or indirectly) to the mine’s operations. This impact corresponds to 367 jobs and US$26 million in labor income that would not exist otherwise.”

“When expanding the analysis parameters to include the surrounding four-county region (Lancaster, Kershaw, York, and Richland counties), the economic impact of the Haile Gold Mine increases to $162 million annually – which is associated with 684 jobs and US$48 million in labor income.”

Widening that analysis to the state of South Carolina, researchers concluded the Haile operation generates US$191 million in positive economic impact each year.

That positive economic impact stems from significant investment in reopening the Haile Gold Mine. Since 2007, more than US$1 billion has been invested at Haile. In that same timeframe, the total payroll has topped US$200 million. That figure does not include the number of indirect jobs generated by the Haile Gold Mine which University of South Carolina researchers estimate is sizable.

According to the report, “Although the Great Recession that occurred from 2007 to 2009 caused massive employment losses in Lancaster and Kershaw counties, these counties also experienced zero positive employment gains during the five years leading up to 2007. By contrast, between 2009 and 2016, employment growth in both counties have consistently outpaced the statewide average. These major changes in employment patterns have been due in part to the economic activities associated with all exploration, permitting, and construction that has been taking place.”

The people holding these jobs are shopping at local stores, buying homes and revitalizing the area. That same influx of economic activity has continued during the past four years of commercial operation at Haile, including during the 2020 global pandemic. Now in 2021, the Haile team is looking ahead at the possibility of an expanded operation and additional investment.

OceanaGold has submitted an application to commence underground mining at Haile. If approved by federal and state regulators, underground mining would generate an additional 200 direct jobs on site and capital investment of US$110 million – further growing the Haile Gold Mine’s economic impact in the region and its significant place in history.

First production from Golden Point Underground at Macraes
First production from Golden Point Underground at Macraes
New life for one of New Zealand’s oldest gold mines
New life for one of New Zealand’s oldest gold mines
Responding in a pandemic
Responding in a pandemic

Building on the company’s strong values and culture, OceanaGold has re-defined how it grows leadership and drives success.

It’s an exciting time to work with OceanaGold.

Leveraging decades of research in organisational behaviour and working closely with management teams across its global operations, OceanaGold has a renewed focus on a culture that drives performance. This is supporting the company to become more resilient and dynamic – and in turn, more successful.

In 2020, as OceanaGold celebrated 30 years of people and performance, the Executive Leadership team recognised an opportunity to build on a culture that was authentic and capable by setting clearer expectations and redefining the purpose, vision and values to better-reflect where the company is today, and its vision for the future.

Executive Vice President, Chief Officer People, Culture and Technology, Graham Almond, said global research has found the most successful companies achieve sustainable results by focusing on their purpose and values to build constructive culture.

“A key component is creating a company where leaders at every level of the organisation support our people to thrive and build long-term, successful careers,” Graham said.

To support these outcomes, OceanaGold developed a three-year Culture and Development strategy, including a consistent and evidence-based leadership development approach across all our corporate and operational sites.

Group Manager, Organisational Culture and Development, Karlie Webster, said the first step was to redefine the key ingredients that make great leadership at OceanaGold.

“At OceanaGold, we believe need to be values-driven, constructive and capable. In doing this we ask our leaders to balance a strong achievement orientation (focus on delivering high quality results) with a humanistic encouraging approach (supporting the growth and development of people),” Karlie said.

“In 2020, to support leadership development across the globe, we embarked on the bespoke development of an interactive, gamified e-learning training series that takes leaders through all the key elements needed for great leadership at OceanaGold. And the completion rates and feedback have been excellent – 95% of our 400 leaders completed the first round of training within three weeks,” she said.

“To continuously measure our approach and outcomes, we partnered with Human Synergistics on a world-first approach that focuses on our six most important causal factors (between leadership and culture). We conduct biannual pulse surveys with about one third of our workforce, to understand how leaders across the organisation are impacting the things that matter most for achieving our cultural aspiration, which in turn enables the achievement of our purpose, vision and strategy.”

“This is just the beginning. We are committed to maximising opportunities for people to build their careers at OceanaGold and we recognise the need to support people at an individual level. We will continue to invest in technology platforms to rollout future programs, with a strong focus on providing practical tools that leaders can use to support their people and will focus on feedback and coaching to build future leaders.”

The value we bring, and create, at OceanaGold
The value we bring, and create, at OceanaGold
Employee testimonial: Justin Johns, Waihi Operation Process Manager
Employee testimonial: Justin Johns, Waihi Operation Process Manager
Creating a workplace destination of choice by fostering belonging
Creating a workplace destination of choice by fostering belonging

Listening to community perspectives is strengthening social performance at the Didipio Mine in the Philippines.

“When we listen, we can better understand how our operations affect people’s everyday lives. When we listen, we find opportunities to improve our operational performance and work collaboratively to contribute to positive change in our host communities.” That’s the driver for OceanaGold’s social performance team, led by Executive Vice President Sustainability, Sharon Flynn.

In 2020, OceanaGold piloted a Social Change Assessment framework at the Didipio Mine in the Philippines. The Corporate External Affairs and Social Performance team and the Didipio Mine Communications and Community Relations team worked with Filipino and international experts in community development and social impact assessment to design a process to uncover how social and economic change was happening at Didipio. The process mapped local dynamics and identified how the mine is driving change in that context.

The process brought together information and analysis from previous social baselines and impact assessments, publicly available data, household level ethnographies, interviews and focus groups.

Social Performance Advisor, Danielle Crawford, said the most important part of the Social Change Assessment was listening to people’s stories.

“The Didipio Mine operates in a complex political and social context and it was important for us to hear the communities’ views on how the mine is changing their lives – what they are happy with and what they want improved,” Danielle said.

“It’s also important to acknowledge the past and what the company could have done differently, because as we all know, when you know better, you do better. Knowledge is a corporate value and very much part of our culture at OceanaGold, and part of our duty of care to the communities we operate in,” she said.

“The Social Change Assessment identified gaps, challenges, and solutions with the aim of improving how OceanaGold is managing the effects of its operations in host communities, and how the company can improve its contribution to the communities’ long-term resilience.”

“For example, while the mine has provided jobs and business opportunities locally, the mine cannot employ everyone, and direct employment opportunities will diminish at closure, so we are working with local groups to strengthen programs focused on non-mining livelihoods such as agriculture.”

“The assessment provided an opportunity to collect honest – and sometimes confronting – feedback that recognised unresolved legacy issues and identified opportunities to enhance our approach”

“For example, how various companies – OceanaGold and previous developers – have accessed land rights over the last 23 years, has created distrust and frustration amongst the community. The Didipio team is working to reconstruct past land access processes to identify what happened and how the process has affected livelihoods today.”

The second phase of the Social Change Assessment involved land mapping. The Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining at the University of Queensland, and the Malaysian branch of the University of Nottingham, used publicly available landsat data to map how land use has changed over time. Land use change was then overlaid with increased infrastructure, local demographics, urban expansion and other social and economic data to get a clearer picture of how the mine has been a driver of change.

OceanaGold is currently working productively and collaboratively with key stakeholders to share the results of the assessment and implement new plans to better manage the mine’s local effects as soon as the operation’s Financial or Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) is renewed.

The Didipio Mine’s Community Relations and Development Manager, Nericel Langres, said the community participants involved in the assessment also gave feedback to the company on how it could improve its engagement overall.

“We recognise we need to shift from a prescriptive engagement approach to one that is more participatory and inclusive, with increased transparency, to better understand the views and perspectives of the community,” Nericel said.

“Long-term, the company’s objective is to gain sustained stakeholder support through wider benefit sharing, improved relationships with more inclusive engagement, work to resolve legacy issues, and fully integrating social impacts management into operations,” she said.

On the ground, Community Development and Management System Superintendent, Bonifacio Labatos Jr (known as Hero), coordinates social data analysis at the mine and has seen first-hand the benefits that responsible mining can bring to remote communities, and is eager to deliver strategies that provide long-lasting benefits.

“There is huge potential for Didipio to become a viable agri-tourism destination and of course, this will contribute significantly to the long-term food security for the region,” Hero said.

“We have worked in partnership with individual farmers and co-operatives and will continue to contribute to the long-term vision by supporting programs that build local capability and capacity,” he said.

“We have also partnered with the community to directly support education, health and sanitation, road infrastructure and livelihood opportunities. And we will strive to improve engagement and support for adjacent communities moving forward.”

Fresh research to support New Zealand’s rarest frog
Fresh research to support New Zealand’s rarest frog
New vehicle revs up Waihī LandSAR
New vehicle revs up Waihī LandSAR
Putting young people in the driver’s seat
Putting young people in the driver’s seat

As programs roll out internationally to vaccinate the world’s population against the COVID-19 virus, OceanaGold has released its position statement outlining its commitment to support governments’ keep communities protected.

As a responsible mining company, OceanaGold has released its position statement to support the global rollout of COVID-19 vaccines.

“We take our legal, ethical, moral and social responsibility extremely seriously,” said OceanaGold’s Health and Safety Manager Portia Weeks.

“We’ve had to act quickly to establish policies that keep our people – and the communities we work and live in – safe from the further-spread of COVID-19,” she said.

“This pandemic has not discriminated and has affected the lives and livelihoods of people around the world. As a company we will support our employees and stakeholders navigate widespread vaccination to establish herd immunity.”

OceanaGold has people and operations in six countries – the United States of America, New Zealand and the Philippines, where it has operating mines, and Australia, Canada and Singapore, where its offices are located – and is working with employees and governments to support vaccination programs that are equitable and accessible.

OceanaGold’s Executive Vice President, Sustainability, Sharon Flynn, said it was vital that effective and widespread vaccination programs were rolled out, to end the disruption and the damage to the global economy seen over the last 12 months.

“It will take all of us to end the loss of lives by working together with a truly risk-based approach, so the vulnerable groups are protected as a priority,” Sharon said.

The disparity between countries is quite considerable and it is our commitment to support the unique requirements of each government as they develop programs that meet the individual needs of their geographies and people,” she said.

“For example, in the Philippines the goal is for a ‘whole-of-society’ approach where the public and private sectors are coming together to deliver a unified and coordinated vaccination campaign. In the mining industry, a realignment of existing Social Development Management Programs and Safety and Health Program funds will assist remote communities access the vaccine. Programs like this directly align with our values and commitment to support equitable distribution.”

 

Fresh research to support New Zealand’s rarest frog
Fresh research to support New Zealand’s rarest frog
New vehicle revs up Waihī LandSAR
New vehicle revs up Waihī LandSAR
Putting young people in the driver’s seat
Putting young people in the driver’s seat

How OceanaGold will influence long-term community outcomes at Macraes

When gold was first discovered at ‘Macraes Flat’ by prospector James Crombie in 1862, it set off a series of gold rushes. Fast forward nearly 160 years, and the Macraes Operation – New Zealand’s largest active gold mine – produces between 140,000 and 150,000 ounces of gold annually.

The mine’s owner and operator, OceanaGold, is committed to the people and ecology that host its operation in the South Island, and that’s why they are undertaking a Social Change Assessment and driving continuous improvement.

We spoke to OceanaGold’s Macraes Operation Environment and Community Manager, Gavin Lee, and Social Performance Advisor, Danielle Crawford, about what the Social Change Assessment looks like, and how the company will use the data to inform their mining activities at Macraes into the future.

 Most of us have heard of a *Social Impact Assessment but what is a Social Change Assessment and are they common in the industry?

Gavin: It’s probably becoming more prevalent as the industry starts to look beyond how it can mitigate the potential issues associated with its operations and instead, considers how it plays a bigger role to influence positive outcomes. Full-scale modern mining at Macraes commenced in the early 1990s and over that time, Macraes has changed, Otago has changed, and certainly New Zealand has changed. As a large organisation that contributes significantly to the region’s economy, it’s important we keep abreast of those changes – demographics, policy direction, community need – they all drive our strategy moving forward.

Danielle: The Social Change Assessment has involved assessing and monitoring social changes over time – this means understanding the social and economic change happening in the Otago region, how the effects of the Macraes mine influence that change and community expectations for how the mine operates. This will help us identify what we can do better now and what we can do better in the future. For example, how we can better design our infrastructure, improve our operational policies and collaborate with communities and local government to support positive regional development, better design our infrastructure and operational procedures, to reduce the negative effects and seek benefits for the local community.

What do those benefits look like?

Gavin: One of the key influences mining can have on small communities is employment. OceanaGold is a major employer in the Otago region. The Social Change Assessment has looked at the impacts of employment on the local community – both now (during operations) and how we impact dependency impacts post mine closure. The data collected will help us plan how we continue to support the community long after we have gone.

Danielle: Another potential benefit is community partnerships as agents for positive economic or environmental change. A good example is our long-term partnership with Fish and Game New Zealand. We store fresh water about 18kms from the Macraes Operation which we pump to our Processing Plant for mineral processing. However, Fish and Game use the water to farm trout, and in turn, they distribute it across Otago. This is a great example of leveraging mine infrastructure to develop a partnership that supports recreation in the region.

Gavin: We are quite broad and innovative when considering where we can influence outcomes. We are the foundational sponsor for the Waitaki Whitestone Geo Park, which aims to showcase how the local geology interrelates with culture and history, business and gastronomy. Obviously, geology is a huge part of our core business and we can provide extensive education and resources, and in turn, play a role in boosting local tourism. We are also forming strong partnerships with local landowners and engaging in important discussions around integrated land use and conservation.

Why has OceanaGold undertaken this work?

Danielle: As a global mining company, we need to keep abreast of the changes happening around us. We’ve looked at where we operate and how we can use our expertise, influence and resources to achieve long-term, positive social and economic outcomes. In New Zealand, water, biodiversity and climate change are huge drivers for positive environmental change and as a global responsible miner, we are at the forefront of that thinking. 

Gavin: It’s about staying ahead of the game. Twenty years ago, the industry had a narrow view on how to manage social impacts and took purely a risk mitigation approach. For example, the machinery we use to mine an open pit might create some residual dust impacts to local residents, so how do we mitigate the dust…but really, the broader risk was around the issue gaining traction in the community and having the potential to stop works. That view only considers the operator or the project. We don’t think like that anymore – we can’t. The mining industry is always evolving. Today we approach risk mitigation with a broader, more opportunistic lens – it’s no longer just about risk to the project, it’s about risk to the community. In the same way you don’t mitigate safety issues because you are trying to reduce the cost of injury, you’re controlling a hazard to save lives and livelihoods.

What happens next?

Danielle: The Social Change Assessment was the first step in collecting extensive data about our influence and impact across the region, and New Zealand more broadly. The next step is to dig deeper to analyse and validate the findings, and we will involve the community in that process.

Gavin: This piece of work has allowed us to take a more systemic approach to managing and influencing our impact as we move ahead with plans to extend mine life at Macraes. We are part of the future in Otago, so it’s our responsibility to ensure our contribution leaves a positive legacy.

*A Social Impact Assessment is defined as: The process for the identification, analysis, assessment, management and monitoring of the potential social impacts of a project, both positive and negative

Fresh research to support New Zealand’s rarest frog
Fresh research to support New Zealand’s rarest frog
New vehicle revs up Waihī LandSAR
New vehicle revs up Waihī LandSAR
Putting young people in the driver’s seat
Putting young people in the driver’s seat

After years of research and testing, an innovative passive water treatment system is becoming a reality at the Reefton Restoration Project on the West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island.  

Construction is underway on an innovative passive water treatment system at the Reefton Restoration Project (formerly the Globe Progress Mine) to effectively manage the site’s water seepage.

When OceanaGold commenced closure at Reefton, the company committed to developing a water management solution that would exceed compliance requirements and continue to perform long after the site has been handed back.

The system – known as a Vertical Flow Reactor – removes heavy metals from water seepages before the water is gravity fed into Devil’s Creek. Although these metals (including iron and arsenic) exist naturally inside the rock, they could threaten the natural ecosystems if released at elevated levels.

The Vertical Flow Reactor has been designed specifically to meet OceanaGold’s high sustainability expectations for best practice mine closure. It’s the result of more than four years of research and trials – and spades of dedication – into effective, chemical-free water treatment solutions, and it has been the major focus of the Reefton Restoration Project’s Environmental Coordinator, Steph Hayton.

Steph dedicated her Master of Science towards the project, and with the help of her supervisors, the commitment and funding of OceanaGold, and support of specialist consultants, the project team turned an ambitious idea into reality.

“Our first discussion about possible passive water treatment solutions occurred as far back as 2015, when we started to think about closure and what we could do to prepare the site,” Steph said.

“In 2018 I started my Masters with a literature review and studied all the water treatment systems that have been used and tested globally. We then set up trials at Reefton with two of the most favourable systems – Bioreactors and a Vertical Flow Reactor,” she said.

“The trials ran over a two-year period and it became evident that the Vertical Flow Reactor worked exceedingly well – there was a noticeable difference in the hydraulic residence times (the time it takes for the water to move through the system), when compared to the Bioreactors. It showed removal rates of metals were high at relatively low residence times, and the captured solids proved to be more stable.”

Steph says the Vertical Flow Reactor has real potential to be utilised at other sites.

“Previously, we treated water through a Water Treatment Plant before discharging it offsite. This process is expensive, uses chemicals to perform the treatment process, and it’s labour intensive requiring extensive maintenance,” she said.

“Our solution using the Vertical Flow Reactor removes suspended metals from the water with little running cost, using gravity flows, and no added water treatment chemicals. It has been trialled extensively, with the final design developed to exceed compliance requirements and run as passively as possible.

“At OceanaGold, we have mine closure at the forefront of our minds, not only towards the end of a mine’s life, but during mining.

“The trials at Reefton have shown how important it is to test systems and learn what works at each site early to effectively develop closure plans. It’s so much more practical and reliable to use a passive system long-term.”

 What is the Vertical Flow Reactor?

The concept originated at Cardiff University, and was adapted by OceanaGold with help from the Verum Group and Mine Waste Management.

By oxygenating the water before it enters the Vertical Flow Reactor, the iron within the water comes out of solution, turning it into a reddish-brown colour. The iron particulate then gently settles on a gravel filter bed at the bottom of collection ponds.

Iron naturally attracts other metals, so it captures free-floating arsenic from the water. The water then continues its gravity fed course through the gravel bed and exits the system into the nearby Devil’s Creek. The solids are left behind in the collection pond, then removed and stored safely in a controlled storage area.

Over time, the metals will eventually be exhausted from the leachable area of the surrounding rock, and the ponds will continue to naturally spill into Devil’s Creek.

Fresh research to support New Zealand’s rarest frog
Fresh research to support New Zealand’s rarest frog
New vehicle revs up Waihī LandSAR
New vehicle revs up Waihī LandSAR
Putting young people in the driver’s seat
Putting young people in the driver’s seat

At OceanaGold, giving back is part of our DNA.

We often talk about responsible mining and sustainability being fundamental to the way we do business, but what does that look like in our day to day lives?

“We live and work in the communities that host our operations. We are part of the community and its critically important we get involved and build and maintain meaningful relationships,” said OceanaGold President and CEO Michael Holmes.

“We pride ourselves as being responsible miners and giving back to the community comes naturally to OceanaGold and our employees – it’s part of our culture,” he said.

2020 has been a challenging year for everyone. This year, OceanaGold has assisted communities through the global pandemic by donating time and goods and helping local economies by forming partnerships.

Let’s look at some of the ways OceanaGold and its employees have contributed to our host communities in 2020.

At our Waihi Operation in the North Island of New Zealand, a team of 30 volunteers established the Waihi Mines Recue Team and assist in emergency responses across the local community. The team has been involved in many rescues – of both the animal and human variety. During COVID-19, the volunteer team worked with the Waihi Salvation Army and local schools to deliver more than 240 essential food packages to families in need. They also raised over $20,000 for Leukaemia and Blood Cancer New Zealand in the Auckland Sky Tower Challenge.

In South Carolina in the United States where COVID-19 continues to be a challenge, our team (and their families) at the Haile Gold Mine dug deep to support the local community.

Jacob Clark, the nine-year-old son of Haile’s Senior Health, Safety & Security Training Coordinator, and member of Haile’s Mine Rescue Team, Russell Clark, helped to serve warm meals to elderly residents across Kershaw and Heath Springs. Other members of the Haile team made protective masks for the elderly and supported local nursing homes by supplying treats, games, art suppliers, greeting cards, murals, sidewalk art, stamps, and food and drink deliveries.

To continue supporting the community over the Christmas holiday period, the team organised two toy drives – the first with toys and donations for Samaritan’s Purse, and the second for the Mt Calvary Outreach Center, which serves hundreds of local Kershaw children. Santa and his elves (all part of Haile’s Mine Rescue Team) delivered the large pile of toys from under the Haile Family Christmas tree to the Depot for Mt Calvary’s “Drive-Thru” Holiday Christmas Party.

At the Didipio Mine in the Philippines, our team earmarked approximately PhP6-million Social Development Management Program funding to provide COVID-19 relief for the mine’s host and adjacent communities.  The team packed and distributed relief goods, including food and medical supplies, to almost 19,000 households in Didipio and adjacent barangays, and donated more than 4,300 face masks, 4,000 surgical masks, 80 gallons sanitising alcohol and other PPE such as goggles, full body coveralls, and disposable gloves.

“We are doing the best we can to support our partner communities as they address this health crisis and respond during this difficult time,” said Executive General Manager David Way.

Similar sentiment was felt by our team at the Macraes Operation in New Zealand’s South Island, who donated two unused respirator fit test kits to the Dunedin Hospital to help ensure frontline heath workers were properly protected.

IT Engineer Gerard Hyland took part in the ShieldsUpNZ movement – a crowdsourced stopgap initiative for PPE in the early phases of the pandemic – which involved members of the community helping to make shields for doctors and other health professionals using 3D printers. Gerard worked around the clock, producing 12 shields every 24 hours.

 

 

 

 

Fresh research to support New Zealand’s rarest frog
Fresh research to support New Zealand’s rarest frog
New vehicle revs up Waihī LandSAR
New vehicle revs up Waihī LandSAR
Putting young people in the driver’s seat
Putting young people in the driver’s seat

This article was published in the Mining Journal in December 2020: OceanaGold marks three decades of gold standard mining

For 30 years, OceanaGold has contributed to excellence in the mining industry by delivering innovative solutions, sustainable environmental and social outcomes and strong returns.

In 1990, OceanaGold poured its first gold bar at the Macraes operation in the South Island of New Zealand. Thirty years on, as it celebrates its anniversary, the miner is about to commence the development of three new projects at the Macraes Operation.

President and CEO, Michael Holmes, said 2020 has been a year unlike any other and that even though OceanaGold was celebrating its 30th anniversary amidst challenging times, the team’s drive, industry expertise and experience navigating market cycles guided the company forward.

“We have a strong and sustainable future ahead of us. Our organic growth pipeline represents decades of opportunities for our company and is one of the best in the gold industry,” Michael said.

“I’m most proud of our people. Our company is built on the passion, resilience, progressive thinking and expertise each member of the OceanaGold team brings to our world class operations every day.”

 OceanaGold currently operates the Waihi and Macraes operations in the North and South Islands of New Zealand, the Haile Gold Mine in South Carolina, USA, and the Didipio Mine in The Philippines.

New Zealand

With an initial mine life of seven years, Macraes has since gone on to be the lifeblood of the company and today, stands as New Zealand’s largest active gold producing mine, having produced over five million ounces of gold since that first pour. With consents received, work is starting on the new Golden Point Underground and additional open pit expansions.

The modern Globe Progress Mine near Reefton on the West Coast in the South Island of New Zealand opened in 2006 and just over 610,000 ounces of gold was mined from the open pit operation between 2007 and 2016. Now known as the Reefton Restoration Project, the site is a leading practice mine closure and rehabilitation project. Central to the project is the re-establishment of vital ecosystems in the new post-mining landscape.

The Waihi region in New Zealand’s North Island has a long history of discovery, development and successful production. When OceanaGold acquired the Waihi Operation in 2015, the company committed to extending the life of the mine, which was delivered with the start of the Martha Underground development in 2019. In July 2020, OceanaGold released the Waihi District Study, a Preliminary Economic Assessment that identified significant and exciting opportunities to expand the existing operation at Waihi and the potential for a new underground mine at Wharekirauponga to the north.

The Philippines

In 2006, OceanaGold acquired the Didipio Copper-Gold Project in the Philippines and developed it into a world class gold-copper operation. Early construction commenced in 2010 and commercial open pit operations began in 2013. In 2015 the operation transitioned from open pit to underground.

Over the years, OceanaGold has built partnerships with the communities, government and businesses that hosted and helped run the operation. Since commencing operations in 2013, over US$890 million has been invested in procurement, wages, training and education, payments to government, community development and environmental partnerships.

OceanaGold President and CEO, Michael Holmes, said Didipio is an example of how to deliver responsible and profitable mining that genuinely cares about shared benefits for people and the environment.

“To date, the team has achieved one of the best safety records globally and demonstrate how mining can contribute to skills development, job creation and livelihood opportunities for local communities. We are committed to rehire hundreds of workers and restart operations once the operation’s Financial or Technical Assistance Agreement is renewed – we are ready and waiting for that opportunity,” Michael said.

USA

In 2015, OceanaGold acquired the Haile Gold Mine in South Carolina, USA, and continued its development. The first gold from the modern Haile Gold Mine was poured in January 2017 and commercial production commenced in October that year.

In September 2020, OceanaGold announced the updated Haile Technical Report which demonstrates long-term value and significant organic growth opportunity for the operation, including the expansion of open pit mining and a new underground opportunity.

 A bright future ahead

OceanaGold continually explores new opportunities at each of its operations, with a focus on delivering stakeholder value, sustainability and contributing to the communities it works and lives in.

Looking to the future, OceanaGold’s President and CEO, Michael Holmes, said their most promising growth projects were now coming online, and this means building three new underground mines, expanding three open pits and continuing to explore the greater Waihi district.

“We believe the delivery of these projects translates to real value for current and prospective shareholders over the long-term. OceanaGold is a resilient and dynamic gold miner with a strong and sustainable future. Our organic growth pipeline is one of the best in the industry, representing decades of opportunity for our company, and my team and I look forward to delivering that value,” Michael said.

“We’re mining gold for a better future. While this year has had its challenges, we look forward to delivering enduring value through innovation, performance and sustainable growth,” he said.

First production from Golden Point Underground at Macraes
First production from Golden Point Underground at Macraes
New life for one of New Zealand’s oldest gold mines
New life for one of New Zealand’s oldest gold mines
Responding in a pandemic
Responding in a pandemic

Bees are producing a new manuka honey blend at the Reefton Restoration Project, with community and the environment the real winners

When the Buller District Council’s Socio-Economic Development Officer Rachel Fifield first stepped into Reefton’s Broadway Team Rooms and spotted a jar of the small town’s famed Browkins Honey, she had an idea.

OceanaGold – the global miner funding Rachel’s position for three years through the Reefton Restoration Project’s Socio-Economic Governance Fund – had planted a 250-hectare parcel of land with manuka and beech varieties to boost pollination of native species and increase biodiversity at the site. Rachel immediately saw the link.

“The local shop keeper pointed me to Oscar Brown, the founder and apiarist at Browkins, who’s partner happened to work out the back of the shop,” Rachel said.

“My job is to connect people and develop solutions that safeguard an economically diverse future for Reefton, post-mining,” she said.

“I thought, this is too good an opportunity to pass up: a small, local honey producer who could potentially expand his business through accessing this lush landscape at the Reefton Restoration project, which also met the Project’s environmental objectives. Gladly, both he and OceanaGold shared my enthusiasm.”

Browkins Honey, OceanaGold and the Reefton Visitor Centre have recently entered into a formal partnership through a Memorandum of Understanding to produce, bottle and sell the special manuka honey blend – aptly named ‘Reefton Gold’.

Browkins Honey has so far introduced around 50 hives to the site and will eventually sell the honey through the local I-site and West Coast markets, generating income and providing yet another diversified revenue stream to the region. With the new venture now up and running, Oscar Brown and his family plan to move closer to Reefton.

The Reefton Restoration Project’s Environmental & Restoration Coordinator Steph Hayton said the partnership was a win-win.

“The town of Reefton benefits from the introduction of a new, local family business and our site (the former Globe Progress Mine, now in the rehabilitation phase) is helped along by the pollination process of the bees,” she said.

Long-term, with the bee population doing its job, Reefton’s native species will self-generate and the site will return to its natural state much faster than it would have without the hives.

OceanaGold’s Environment Manager Kerry Watson said this is what responsible mine closure looked like.

“This initiative is community-focused at heart and such a clever, natural way to turn a post-mining landscape into productive land use, while improving biodiversity outcomes,” he said.

Fresh research to support New Zealand’s rarest frog
Fresh research to support New Zealand’s rarest frog
New vehicle revs up Waihī LandSAR
New vehicle revs up Waihī LandSAR
Putting young people in the driver’s seat
Putting young people in the driver’s seat

This article was published in the Mining Journal in November 2020: OceanaGold commits to net zero emissions by 2050

Last week global mining company OceanaGold made a commitment to immediate climate action, releasing a new statement of position on climate change that sets a net zero operational greenhouse emissions goal by 2050.

According to S&P Global, nearly 1.0 tonnes of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) was emitted per ounce of gold produced globally in 2019[1], so it comes as no surprise that climate change has become a critical focus for the gold mining industry.

OceanaGold is already on track to reduce its carbon footprint. At 0.53 tonnes of CO2e per ounce of gold produced in 2019, OceanaGold’s emissions are much lower than the global average.

With increasing concerns about the industry’s impact on climate change and a growing environmental and social governance (ESG) focus from investors around the world, many organisations are planning for a just process to move to a net zero economy and society.

Climate change also presents a financial risk to the global economy. The Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) provides a framework to help organisations effectively report on climate risk, becoming the benchmark for ESG reporting on climate risk management and performance.

OceanaGold has established a roadmap of strategic actions to help reduce the company’s carbon footprint and improve energy management, including:

  • Setting the goal to achieve net zero GHG emissions by 2050
  • Establishing milestone interim emission targets by the end of 2021
  • Establishing a climate change Technical Coordinating Committee to identify opportunities to reduce GHG emission intensity, and identify risks, opportunities, priorities and associated costs
  • Undertaking climate change management and reporting to meet the requirements of the TCFD.

Setting the foundation

OceanaGold has a solid understanding of its current carbon emission and is a low greenhouse gas (GHG) emitter compared to the global gold mining average. 

Michael Holmes, President and Chief Executive Officer at OceanaGold said the company had been deeply committed to responsible mining for 30 years and was proud to be taking action to manage its carbon footprint.

“There is a long way to go, and our journey to net zero emissions won’t be linear. It will vary depending on production cycles, national infrastructure constraints and company growth opportunities,” Michael said.

OceanaGold aims to achieve the carbon reduction goal through the implementation of four key strategic areas:

  1. Improved energy efficiency and energy reduction
  2. Decarbonisation of electrical energy supply
  3. Decarbonisation of mobile equipment fuel
  4. Carbon sequestration.

“Deliberate and timely implementation of the four key carbon reduction strategies can reduce GHG emission intensity in line with OceanaGold’s goal and targets,” Michael said.

Macraes, a journey to a low-emissions gold mine

At the Macraes mine on the South Island of New Zealand, OceanaGold has already started scoping what a possible net zero carbon mine looks like.

Matthew Hine, General Manager for the Macraes Operation said this included the opportunity to implement a partial conversion of its fleet to electricity and biodiesel, and offset carbon dioxide emissions by increasing forestry offsets.

“Electrifying some of the mining fleet and blending biodiesel into the existing diesel consumption would reduce Scope 1 emissions by as much as 43 per cent” Matthew said.

“Macraes has partnered with the New Zealand Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) to bring on an Energy Engineer who will work with us to integrate renewables and identify opportunities to continuously reduce our environmental impact,” he said.

 Looking to the future

Setting a goal is only the first step. OceanaGold will now turn its focus to implementing the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) and set clear actions and activities for the future.

Michael Holmes, President and Chief Executive Officer at OceanaGold said since 2018, OceanaGold had been implementing a company-wide program of automation, digital and process transformation called ADaPT, which was helping the company define its journey to operate the mines of the future.

“Digital transformation presents an industry-wide opportunity to enhance performance and reduce impact. Our commitment for 2020 was to develop strategies to mitigate the risks associated with climate change and establish measures and targets to improve the efficiency of our energy use and to minimise our greenhouse gas emissions intensity,” Michael said.

“A central part of the industry’s commitment to reducing its impact on climate is technology, this is where the opportunity lies. Rapid advances in technology innovation, including automation, digitisation and electrification are central to the mining industry’s commitment to reducing its environmental impact,” he said.

Fresh research to support New Zealand’s rarest frog
Fresh research to support New Zealand’s rarest frog
New vehicle revs up Waihī LandSAR
New vehicle revs up Waihī LandSAR
Putting young people in the driver’s seat
Putting young people in the driver’s seat

When an investment in people – and their investment in you – align to return dividends

When General Manager Project Execution David Bickerton first met Project Engineer Armin Musa at OceanaGold’s Didipio Mine in the Philippines, he knew he was looking at one of the company’s future leaders.

“It’s not often you identify someone that early in their career as having the capability and capacity to lead, but that’s what happened when I started working with Armin,” David said.

The pair met at the Didipio Mine in 2012 when David was project managing the construction and commissioning of the site and Armin had recently commenced as a Distributed Control System Engineer (electrical engineer).

“Armin’s technical ability is second to none and he’s incredibly disciplined, but what made him stand out was his strong desire to succeed. He asks the hard questions, takes a challenge head on, coaches others and circles back for feedback…at OceanaGold, that’s the makings of a leader,” David said.

With the backing of OceanaGold’s Executive Leadership Team, David put Armin on an accelerated leadership pathway, which has involved a six-month secondment to the Haile Gold Mine in the United States where he gained invaluable operational experience commissioning the processing plant. More recently, Armin was offered a corporate position at the company’s Brisbane office where he is playing a key role in advancing an integral digitisation and electrification project that will significantly improve mining fleet efficiency, contributing to OceanaGold’s climate change objectives.

“So far, Armin has done exactly what I thought he would do: excel,” David said.

Armin is very humble about his future career path and is grateful for the opportunities that OceanaGold has provided, but there’s a definite spark when you speak with him about working with the company.

“There’s a visible leadership culture at OceanaGold. There’s been several times where I’ve been put on the spot and asked to contribute my ideas and thoughts to fix a problem, and while that’s sometimes difficult, I thrive in those moments; those times when I’m challenged,” Armin said.

“I’ve worked hard and OceanaGold has recognised that – they encourage their employees to develop sustained careers with them and they reward that effort. I think that’s rare for a global mining company.”

That commitment to personal and professional development includes sponsoring Armin to undertake a master’s degree in electrical engineering, which he completed last year.

“Working for almost eight years at the Didipio Mine, I have met and worked with many dedicated and skilled people who share the same work etiquette and career aspirations as I do,” he said.

“I’m not for one second wasting the opportunities that I’ve been afforded, and it’s my sincere hope that my Filipino colleagues have the same prospects in the near future.”

The value we bring, and create, at OceanaGold
The value we bring, and create, at OceanaGold
Employee testimonial: Justin Johns, Waihi Operation Process Manager
Employee testimonial: Justin Johns, Waihi Operation Process Manager
Creating a workplace destination of choice by fostering belonging
Creating a workplace destination of choice by fostering belonging

Marking OceanaGold’s 30-year anniversary and a future full of opportunity

Today marks a milestone. It’s 30 years since we poured our first gold bar at the Macraes Operation in New Zealand.

For 30 years, we contributed to excellence in our industry by delivering innovative solutions, sustainable environmental and social outcomes and strong returns.

Back in November 1990, the company was called Macraes Mining Company Ltd and the operation had a mine life of seven years. Macraes has since gone on to be the lifeblood of the company and today, stands as New Zealand’s largest active gold producing mine, having produced over five million ounces of gold since that first pour.

Over the last 30 days we have celebrated ‘Our Journey to 30’, taking a trip down memory lane to look back at our history and the stories that shaped our culture and make us the company we are today.

We’ve celebrated the backbone of our company – our people – and the opportunities that shaped us to be a modern, high-performing and responsible miner.

President and CEO, Michael Holmes, said 2020 has been a year unlike any other and that even though OceanaGold was celebrating our 30th amidst challenging times, the team’s  drive, industry expertise and experience navigating market cycles guided the company forward.

“We have a strong and sustainable future ahead of us. Our organic growth pipeline represents decades of opportunities for our company and is one of the best in the gold industry,” Michael said.

“I’m most proud of our people. Our company is built on the passion, resilience, progressive thinking and expertise each member of the OceanaGold team brings to our world class operations every day,” he said.

Looking back

At our Waihi and Macraes Operations in New Zealand and at the Haile Gold Mine in the United States, mining spans centuries.

Our Haile Gold Mine is the oldest and longest-operating mine in North America – pre-dating the Californian gold rush by a generation. Gold was first discovered in the region in 1827, in a stream on the property of Captain Benjamin Haile. Mining started two years later and the mine was already 60 years old when the neighbouring town of Kershaw was established. Between 1829–1993 the Haile Mine produced over 360,000 ounces of gold. We poured the first gold from the modern Haile Gold Mine in January 2017 and the current life of mine extends to 2031+.

James Crombie, a local prospector, first discovered alluvial gold in Deepdell Creek in 1862, starting a gold rush in the Macraes region. The first ore body worked at Macraes Flat was the Duke of Edinburgh in 1875. The Golden Point mine opened in 1889 and was a significant and successful scheelite (tungsten) and gold producer. The Macraes Operation continues to have an extraordinary journey of efficiency and adaptation. The operation’s success stems from the high level of expertise and innovation of its employees – an integral aspect since its modern beginnings in 1990.

At Waihi, John McCombie and Robert Lee discovered gold on Pukewa, also known as Martha Hill, in 1878. Underground mining commenced a year later and by 1882 the first stamper battery was in operation. The original underground Martha Mine closed in 1952. For 70 years the mine employed a workforce averaging 600 people, extended to a depth of 600 metres, and produced 5.6 million ounces of gold and 38.4 million ounces of silver. We acquired the Waihi Operation in 2015 and current mine life extends to 2036+.

While some of our operations are much older than our company, we are proud of the history and legacy of each.

A modern mining era

After starting as Macraes Mining Company Ltd in 1990, we acquired the Reefton Goldfield in New Zealand in 1991. The modern Globe Progress Mine opened in 2006 and just over 610,000 ounces of gold was mined from the open pit operation between 2007 and 2016. Now known as the Reefton Restoration Project, the site is a leading-practice mine closure and rehabilitation project. Central to the project is the re-establishment of vital ecosystems in the new post-mining landscape.

OceanaGold Ltd. was established in 2003 and is listed under “OGC” on the Australian and Toronto Stock Exchanges. Throughout our history we have proudly advanced  knowledge in our field and delivered award-winning initiatives driven by a commitment to social, economic, operational, and environmental sustainability.

In 2006 we acquired the Didipio Copper-Gold Project in the Philippines and developed it into a truly world class gold-copper operation. Early construction commenced in 2010 and commercial open pit operations began in 2013. In 2015 the operation transitioned from open pit to underground and in 2018 we commissioned the first ever paste plant in the Philippines,  which meant underground workings could be safely backfilled after mining activities were completed.

In addition to technical innovation at Didipio, we built partnerships with the communities, government and businesses that hosted and helped us run the operation. Since commencing operations in 2013, we have invested over US$890 million in procurement, wages, training and education, payments to government, community development and environmental partnerships.

While restrictions on the operation have meant we’re not operating the Didipio Mine right now, it’s an excellent gold and copper producing asset, with an outstanding workforce and best practice standards.

OceanaGold President and CEO, Michael Holmes, said Didipio is an example of how to deliver responsible and profitable mining that genuinely cares about shared benefits for people and the environment in the Philippines.

“To date, the team has achieved one of the best safety records globally and represents how mining can contribute to skills development, job creation and livelihood opportunities for local communities. We are committed to rehire hundreds of workers and restart operations once the Financial or Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) is renewed – we are ready and waiting for that opportunity,” Michael said.

In 2015 we acquired the Haile Gold Mine and continued its development. We poured the first gold from the modern Haile Gold Mine in January 2017 and commercial production commenced in October that year. In September 2020, we announced the updated Haile Technical Report which demonstrates long-term value and significant organic growth opportunity for the operation, including the expansion of open pit mining and a new underground opportunity.

The Waihi region has a history of discovery, development and successful production. When we acquired the Waihi Operation in 2015, we committed to extending the life of the mine and we were pleased to deliver on that commitment with the commencement of the Martha underground mine development in 2019. In July 2020 we released the Waihi District Study, a Preliminary Economic Assessment that identified significant and exciting opportunities to expand the existing operation at Waihi and the potential for a new underground mine at Wharekirauponga to the north.

Built by great people

Over the last 30 days we have also celebrated the people who have contributed to our success along the way.

From our Chief Development Officer, Mark Cadzow, who joined us as a metallurgist at Macraes in 1990 and has grown with our company; to Oliver Donato, who started his career as one of our scholars in the Philippines and, in 2019, was awarded as the Outstanding Pollution Control Officer of the Pollution Control Association of the Philippines.

From Colin Purcell and Lorrance Torkler, who have both worked at our Waihi Operation for over 30 years and have a deep understanding of the mine’s operations and geology; to David Thomas, who has built a proud legacy and close community relationships at our Haile Gold Mine; and Ken Thomas who has contributed to our Macraes Operation for over 25 years after starting as one of the mine’s first operators.

These are just a few of the stories of the incredible people who work, and have worked, at OceanaGold and you’ll find many more stories on our people and careers blog.

 Looking ahead

We’re mining gold for a better future. While this year has had its challenges, we’re a resilient and dynamic gold miner, trusted to deliver enduring value through innovation, performance and sustainable growth.

Driven by our values, we continue to explore new opportunities at each of our operations, with a focus on sustainability and contributing to the communities we work and live in.

In New Zealand, we are delivering best practice mine rehabilitation at our Reefton Restoration Project. Following progressive rehabilitation of the site throughout the life of the mine, we are undertaking innovative planting, capping and water treatment projects and are also focused on supporting a sustainable future for the town of Reefton.

Further south at the Macraes Operation we’ve extended the mine life at the operation and see many additional opportunities ahead. Development of a new underground project, the Golden Point Underground, and extensions to Deepdell Open Pit and Frasers Open Pit – will extend the mine life at the operation to 2028.

When talking about the Macraes Operation, General Manager, Matthew Hine, said: “From an initial mine life of seven years, our desire to always keep improving has seen us become an operation, and company, that’s celebrated on the world stage. We know who we are, what we represent, how we want to treat each other and how we want to mine. With a commitment to always improve and a great leadership team, we have an exciting future ahead of us.”

In the North Island of New Zealand at the Waihi Operation, the Martha Underground is on track for first production in the second quarter of 2021. We’ve commenced consultation and engagement around the Project Quattro and Wharekirauponga opportunities and continue our exploration and resource conversion program.

When talking about the exciting opportunities ahead of us at the Waihi Operation, Acting General Manager, Daniel Calderwood said: “We’re in a very busy period of the mine’s life. The best is yet to come, here at Waihi, and for OceanaGold. The team here at Waihi are excited for the future and to see Waihi continue to prosper as we develop our projects here, and to the north at Wharekirauponga.”

Over the next two years we will employ an additional 200 people at the Haile Gold Mine in the United States as we continue to enhance the performance of this relatively young mine, expand our open pit operations and develop the Haile Underground Project in early to mid-2021.

When talking about what’s next at our Haile Gold Mine, Executive General Manager, Jim Whittaker said: “It never gets old, watching the sun rise over this mine. Every day it’s a reminder of the bright future and golden opportunity laying ahead, and below, for Haile Gold Mine. We’re building on a long legacy of gold mining in the south, and it’s an exciting time to be here.”

We’re proud to be celebrating 30 years of people and performance at OceanaGold and we look forward to the next 30 years. In 2021 we start a new chapter in the company’s life, as we deliver our exciting organic growth opportunities, under our responsible mining framework, and what it means to work the OceanaGold way.

First production from Golden Point Underground at Macraes
First production from Golden Point Underground at Macraes
New life for one of New Zealand’s oldest gold mines
New life for one of New Zealand’s oldest gold mines
Responding in a pandemic
Responding in a pandemic
Celebrating 30

Marking OceanaGold’s 30-year anniversary and a future full of opportunity

Today marks a milestone. It’s 30 years since we poured our first gold bar at the Macraes Operation in New Zealand.

For 30 years, we contributed to excellence in our industry by delivering innovative solutions, sustainable environmental and social outcomes and strong returns.

Back in November 1990, the company was called Macraes Mining Company Ltd and the operation had a mine life of seven years. Macraes has since gone on to be the lifeblood of the company and today, stands as New Zealand’s largest active gold producing mine, having produced over five million ounces of gold since that first pour.

Over the last 30 days we have celebrated ‘Our Journey to 30’, taking a trip down memory lane to look back at our history and the stories that shaped our culture and make us the company we are today.

We’ve celebrated the backbone of our company – our people – and the opportunities that shaped us to be a modern, high-performing and responsible miner.

President and CEO, Michael Holmes, said 2020 has been a year unlike any other and that even though OceanaGold was celebrating our 30th amidst challenging times, the team’s  drive, industry expertise and experience navigating market cycles guided the company forward.

“We have a strong and sustainable future ahead of us. Our organic growth pipeline represents decades of opportunities for our company and is one of the best in the gold industry,” Michael said.

“I’m most proud of our people. Our company is built on the passion, resilience, progressive thinking and expertise each member of the OceanaGold team brings to our world class operations every day,” he said.

Looking back

At our Waihi and Macraes Operations in New Zealand and at the Haile Gold Mine in the United States, mining spans centuries.

Our Haile Gold Mine is the oldest and longest-operating mine in North America – pre-dating the Californian gold rush by a generation. Gold was first discovered in the region in 1827, in a stream on the property of Captain Benjamin Haile. Mining started two years later and the mine was already 60 years old when the neighbouring town of Kershaw was established. Between 1829–1993 the Haile Mine produced over 360,000 ounces of gold. We poured the first gold from the modern Haile Gold Mine in January 2017 and the current life of mine extends to 2031+.

James Crombie, a local prospector, first discovered alluvial gold in Deepdell Creek in 1862, starting a gold rush in the Macraes region. The first ore body worked at Macraes Flat was the Duke of Edinburgh in 1875. The Golden Point mine opened in 1889 and was a significant and successful scheelite (tungsten) and gold producer. The Macraes Operation continues to have an extraordinary journey of efficiency and adaptation. The operation’s success stems from the high level of expertise and innovation of its employees – an integral aspect since its modern beginnings in 1990.

At Waihi, John McCombie and Robert Lee discovered gold on Pukewa, also known as Martha Hill, in 1878. Underground mining commenced a year later and by 1882 the first stamper battery was in operation. The original underground Martha Mine closed in 1952. For 70 years the mine employed a workforce averaging 600 people, extended to a depth of 600 metres, and produced 5.6 million ounces of gold and 38.4 million ounces of silver. We acquired the Waihi Operation in 2015 and current mine life extends to 2036+.

While some of our operations are much older than our company, we are proud of the history and legacy of each.

A modern mining era

After starting as Macraes Mining Company Ltd in 1990, we acquired the Reefton Goldfield in New Zealand in 1991. The modern Globe Progress Mine opened in 2006 and just over 610,000 ounces of gold was mined from the open pit operation between 2007 and 2016. Now known as the Reefton Restoration Project, the site is a leading-practice mine closure and rehabilitation project. Central to the project is the re-establishment of vital ecosystems in the new post-mining landscape.

OceanaGold Ltd. was established in 2003 and is listed under “OGC” on the Australian and Toronto Stock Exchanges. Throughout our history we have proudly advanced  knowledge in our field and delivered award-winning initiatives driven by a commitment to social, economic, operational, and environmental sustainability.

In 2006 we acquired the Didipio Copper-Gold Project in the Philippines and developed it into a truly world class gold-copper operation. Early construction commenced in 2010 and commercial open pit operations began in 2013. In 2015 the operation transitioned from open pit to underground and in 2018 we commissioned the first ever paste plant in the Philippines,  which meant underground workings could be safely backfilled after mining activities were completed.

In addition to technical innovation at Didipio, we built partnerships with the communities, government and businesses that hosted and helped us run the operation. Since commencing operations in 2013, we have invested over US$890 million in procurement, wages, training and education, payments to government, community development and environmental partnerships.

While restrictions on the operation have meant we’re not operating the Didipio Mine right now, it’s an excellent gold and copper producing asset, with an outstanding workforce and best practice standards.

OceanaGold President and CEO, Michael Holmes, said Didipio is an example of how to deliver responsible and profitable mining that genuinely cares about shared benefits for people and the environment in the Philippines.

“To date, the team has achieved one of the best safety records globally and represents how mining can contribute to skills development, job creation and livelihood opportunities for local communities. We are committed to rehire hundreds of workers and restart operations once the Financial or Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) is renewed – we are ready and waiting for that opportunity,” Michael said.

In 2015 we acquired the Haile Gold Mine and continued its development. We poured the first gold from the modern Haile Gold Mine in January 2017 and commercial production commenced in October that year. In September 2020, we announced the updated Haile Technical Report which demonstrates long-term value and significant organic growth opportunity for the operation, including the expansion of open pit mining and a new underground opportunity.

The Waihi region has a history of discovery, development and successful production. When we acquired the Waihi Operation in 2015, we committed to extending the life of the mine and we were pleased to deliver on that commitment with the commencement of the Martha underground mine development in 2019. In July 2020 we released the Waihi District Study, a Preliminary Economic Assessment that identified significant and exciting opportunities to expand the existing operation at Waihi and the potential for a new underground mine at Wharekirauponga to the north.

Built by great people

Over the last 30 days we have also celebrated the people who have contributed to our success along the way.

From our Chief Development Officer, Mark Cadzow, who joined us as a metallurgist at Macraes in 1990 and has grown with our company; to Oliver Donato, who started his career as one of our scholars in the Philippines and, in 2019, was awarded as the Outstanding Pollution Control Officer of the Pollution Control Association of the Philippines.

From Colin Purcell and Lorrance Torkler, who have both worked at our Waihi Operation for over 30 years and have a deep understanding of the mine’s operations and geology; to David Thomas, who has built a proud legacy and close community relationships at our Haile Gold Mine; and Ken Thomas who has contributed to our Macraes Operation for over 25 years after starting as one of the mine’s first operators.

These are just a few of the stories of the incredible people who work, and have worked, at OceanaGold and you’ll find many more stories on our people and careers blog.

 Looking ahead

We’re mining gold for a better future. While this year has had its challenges, we’re a resilient and dynamic gold miner, trusted to deliver enduring value through innovation, performance and sustainable growth.

Driven by our values, we continue to explore new opportunities at each of our operations, with a focus on sustainability and contributing to the communities we work and live in.

In New Zealand, we are delivering best practice mine rehabilitation at our Reefton Restoration Project. Following progressive rehabilitation of the site throughout the life of the mine, we are undertaking innovative planting, capping and water treatment projects and are also focused on supporting a sustainable future for the town of Reefton.

Further south at the Macraes Operation we’ve extended the mine life at the operation and see many additional opportunities ahead. Development of a new underground project, the Golden Point Underground, and extensions to Deepdell Open Pit and Frasers Open Pit – will extend the mine life at the operation to 2028.

When talking about the Macraes Operation, General Manager, Matthew Hine, said: “From an initial mine life of seven years, our desire to always keep improving has seen us become an operation, and company, that’s celebrated on the world stage. We know who we are, what we represent, how we want to treat each other and how we want to mine. With a commitment to always improve and a great leadership team, we have an exciting future ahead of us.”

In the North Island of New Zealand at the Waihi Operation, the Martha Underground is on track for first production in the second quarter of 2021. We’ve commenced consultation and engagement around the Project Quattro and Wharekirauponga opportunities and continue our exploration and resource conversion program.

When talking about the exciting opportunities ahead of us at the Waihi Operation, Acting General Manager, Daniel Calderwood said: “We’re in a very busy period of the mine’s life. The best is yet to come, here at Waihi, and for OceanaGold. The team here at Waihi are excited for the future and to see Waihi continue to prosper as we develop our projects here, and to the north at Wharekirauponga.”

Over the next two years we will employ an additional 200 people at the Haile Gold Mine in the United States as we continue to enhance the performance of this relatively young mine, expand our open pit operations and develop the Haile Underground Project in early to mid-2021.

When talking about what’s next at our Haile Gold Mine, Executive General Manager, Jim Whittaker said: “It never gets old, watching the sun rise over this mine. Every day it’s a reminder of the bright future and golden opportunity laying ahead, and below, for Haile Gold Mine. We’re building on a long legacy of gold mining in the south, and it’s an exciting time to be here.”

We’re proud to be celebrating 30 years of people and performance at OceanaGold and we look forward to the next 30 years. In 2021 we start a new chapter in the company’s life, as we deliver our exciting organic growth opportunities, under our responsible mining framework, and what it means to work the OceanaGold way.

Celebrating 30
Celebrating 30
A golden future full of opportunity for Haile
A golden future full of opportunity for Haile
The best is yet to come at Waihi
The best is yet to come at Waihi
A golden future full of opportunity for Haile

“It never gets old, watching the sun rise over this mine. Every day it’s a reminder of the bright future and golden opportunity laying ahead, and below, for Haile Gold Mine.

Hear from our #Haile Gold Mine Executive General Manager, Jim Whittaker, about the history and bright future for Haile.

Celebrating 30
Celebrating 30
A golden future full of opportunity for Haile
A golden future full of opportunity for Haile
The best is yet to come at Waihi
The best is yet to come at Waihi
The best is yet to come at Waihi


“We’re in a very busy period of the mine’s life. The best is yet to come, here at Waihi, and for OceanaGold. The team here at Waihi are excited for the future. I’m excited to see Waihi continue prosper as we develop our projects here, and to the north at Wharekirauponga.”

Having announced exiting future opportunities for the Waihi Operation, hear from Acting General Manager, Dan Calderwood about the next chapter for this great operation.

 

Celebrating 30
Celebrating 30
A golden future full of opportunity for Haile
A golden future full of opportunity for Haile
The best is yet to come at Waihi
The best is yet to come at Waihi
OceanaGold