The Macraes Operation is located in a region that supports multiple land use including farming, grazing, mining, and conservation. The region is also home to the Macraes Ecological District – a characteristic landscape and range of biological communities protected by the Department of Conservation.
In its many years of continuous operations, the Macraes Operation has been at the forefront of responsible mining and sustainability initiatives. OceanaGold produced its first publicly available Sustainability Report covering governance, the environment, community engagement and health and safety in 2009. The Sustainability Report is produced annually and has evolved to also include specific sections on responsible mining, people, and diversity.
Health & Safety
Creating a safe and healthy working environment for all employees is paramount at OceanaGold.
In 2017, the Macraes Operation launched a behavioural-based safety program which has played a significant role in reducing the number of workplace injuries. Between 2013 and 2019 the total recordable injury frequency rate (TRIFR) has dropped from 14.15 to 5.4.
Macraes strives to foster strong safety leadership and responsibility at all levels, with a focus on guiding, coaching, and enabling others to be innovative, look for solutions, achieve our goals and bring out the best in our teams.
Two key initiatives have been implemented to improve safety culture:
- The Gold Standard Program
This program sets Key Performance Indicators for our Senior Leadership Team (superintendents, managers and general manager) to encourage and measure team participation in pre-start meetings, field-based task observations, quality reviews of risk management tools, workplace inspections, safety process reviews, incident investigations and audits.
- Crucial Behaviours Program
To complement the Gold Standard Program, the Behavioural Safety Program is focused on engaging employees in proactively identifying workplace hazards and fostering a culture where people look out for each other and feel empowered to speak up when they see unsafe behaviours or situations. The program is tailored to allow our employees and contractors at each level of the organisation to identify the key crucial behaviours, which when performed by everyone will create an injury-free, healthy work environment.
Employment & Diversity
Between 2013 and 2019, the number of full-time employees at the Macraes Operation has increased by 22.1%, from 470 to 572. In addition, Macraes utilises contractors for specialised tasks and can employ up to 200 contractors at any one time.
2018 saw Macraes set a target to achieve 20% female representation in the workforce by 2023. Over the course of 2019 the Macraes Operation increased the overall representation of women in the business from 11% to 14%. 2020 has seen the re-branding of our diversity actions under the title of Diversity Inc., expanding our focus beyond Women in Mining to also consider wider cultural diversity within the community. The Women in Mining sub-committee supported by the People and Culture team are continuing to build on the progress made throughout 2019 with the development of recruitment initiatives targeted at attracting more women into our candidate pools from STEM industries as well as celebrating the development of our current female staff members with the annual Women in Mining forum.
The Macraes Processing Group has also spent the past six months trialling a flexible work arrangement to understand how the business can better support work-life balance for employees and their families. The trial investigated options of flexible location and days of work to support employees as and when required. Having built an understanding of the barriers to women entering the business over the past year, the Macraes team have also adopted a ‘reduced hours’ roster for local members of the community to gain an introduction, or re-introduction, to the open pit mining environment work during school hours.
Diversity Inc. has developed a calendar of broader cultural events for the Macraes team to learn about and celebrate in 2020 and beyond. Sub-committees from Diversity Inc. will host events, provide information, and educate the wider business on topics such as sign language week, suicide prevention and mental health, unity, and breaking stereotypes within society.
At OceanaGold we are committed to creating a positive legacy in the communities we live and work in. Between 2013 and 2019, contributions made towards donations and community investment totalled $178,395 NZD. In 2015 the company made a payment to the Macraes Community Development Trust of $1,558,393 NZD to support the development of the Macraes Village beyond mining. In 2019, Macraes made $25,463,754 NZD in payments to local, regional, and central government (i.e. taxes, royalties, and rates) and $188,388,934 NZD to local and national suppliers.
The Macraes Operation has a sponsorship program focused on community resilience, health, education, and conservation.
Sponsorships & Partnerships
Macraes has developed several important partnerships with local organisations including:
- Fish & Game – in connection with the operations of the Macraes Trout Hatchery, which liberates over 8,000 rainbow trout fingerlings to DoC approved reservoirs around Otago
- The University of Otago in conducting research on aspects associated with the mine, including biodiversity, social and geological research.
In addition, OceanaGold has recently signed a Protocol of Engagement with the tangata whenua. The Protocol sets a platform for engagement between the Te Runanga o Moeraki, Kati Huirapa Runaka ki Puketeraki and Te Runanka o Otakou and OceanaGold, with the aim of working collaboratively on areas of interest.
We are committed to engaging with communities and incorporating their thoughts and innovations into, where possible, aspects of project planning and design. The support from those around the wider area is fundamental to ensure the operation continues to develop and extend into the future.
Our local social investment programs include:
- School funding to provide professional development for teaching staff, management system software and training, curriculum resources and building and facility improvements.
- A partnership with the local council to deliver design work for a new irrigation scheme and part funding towards a community bike park.
- Our Macraes and Waihi Operations competed the Sky Tower Challenge in May 2019 and raised $20,813.98 NZD for Leukaemia and Blood Cancer New Zealand. The mine rescue team climbed 1,103 stairs (328 metres) in Auckland’s Sky Tower, the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere.
- Free appointments for community mole mapping.
Environmental work at the Macraes Operation involves a range of areas and collaborators, focusing on developing and implementing opportunities that benefit not only the local biodiversity but also the local and wider community. The operation follows the Mitigation Hierarchy (avoid, minimise, restore, offset, and compensate) to manage the effects the mine has on the surrounding environment.
Some of the efforts undertaken by Macraes employees include:
- Common Ground Study
- The Common Ground study was initiated to find a balance within the Resource Management Act as the Macraes Operation navigated integrated land use and conservation around the mine. This work involved collaboration with a range of stakeholders and treaty partners to better develop and manage project design on site. This study helped to identify the concerns and priorities of each group involved and led to a successful mine re-design and development of the Trimbells Waste Rock Stack project.
- Trimbells Waste Rock Stack (Mitigation – Avoidance)
- The Trimbells Waste Rock Stack re-design was initiated to prevent metalliferous drainage effects. This involved studying the potential sources and impacts of increased sulphate levels resulting from the oxidisation of exposed (weathered) mineralisation in waste rock stacks and research around the potential impacts on biodiversity. By redesigning the way, the waste rock stacks were constructed, the Macraes Operation can reduce the weathering that generates sulphate.
- Lizard Habitats (Mitigation – Restoration)
- In 2018, the Macraes Operation commenced a three-year project in partnership with the University of Otago to quantify the effects of constructed lizard habitats (lizard hotels). The tussock landscape provides the natural environment for native lizards such as the McCann’s Skink (Oligosoma maccanni), Southern Grass Skink (Oligosoma polychroma Clade 5) and Korero Gecko (Woodworthia sp), however, this can be interrupted by pine tree seedlings and other weeds. The constructed lizard habitats provided the opportunity to not only support the lizard’s current habitats, but extend to new, rehabilitated areas.
- Deepdell Culvert
- In 2019, the Deepdell Culvert installation was completed at the Macraes Operation. Designed to manage the effects of aquatic ecology, the 93-metre-long culvert uses baffles to disrupt the water flow and allow aquatic ecology like the Taieri Flathead Galaxiid and eels to move through with ease.
The Macraes Operation also undertakes additional conservation actions outside of the mine footprint. This includes sponsorships of the Orokonui Ecosanctuary, which plays an important role in conserving the Haast Tokoeka, the rarest of all kiwi species. This threatened species is at high risk of extinction, with an estimated population of just 400. The operation also supports the Aspiring Biodiversity Trust’s installation of predator control within two key alpine environments of the Makarora catchment.