OceanaGold Pours First Gold at Haile Mine in South Carolina
OceanaGold is headquartered in Melbourne, Australia, and in addition to the Haile mine owns and operates three gold mines in New Zealand and a gold-copper mine in the Philippines. The company acquired the Haile project, then in development, when it acquired Romarco Minerals at the end of September 2015. Romarco began construction of the project in May 2015.
OceanaGold President and CEO Mick Wilkes said, “Construction at Haile is complete and commissioning activities are progressing to plan as we move closer to putting the newest gold mine in the United States into commercial production early in the second quarter this year. We are also advancing the Haile optimization study, which is expected to be complete by mid-2017.”
Oceana began dry commissioning the Haile processing plant in October 2016, initially focusing on the crushing circuit and emergency stockpile system. Commissioning of the grinding, carbon-inleach, and tailings circuits to treat oxide and transition ores followed. Construction of the flotation and fine grinding circuits was completed, and commissioning of these circuits to treat sulphide ore began during the first half of January.
As of late December, approximately 675,000 metric tons (mt) of ore was stockpiled and ready for processing, including 275,000 mt of sulphide ore grading 2.3 grams/mt, 245,000 mt of oxide ore grading 0.6 g/mt, and 155,000 mt of transitional material grading 1.1 g/mt. Haile mill throughput is planned at 7,000 st/d. Project proven and probable reserves currently stand at a little more than 2 million oz of gold in 30.5 million mt grading 2.02 g/mt gold.
The Haile gold mine is located between two former gold mines — the Ridgeway mine and the Brewer mine — in a region where gold was first produced in the early 1800s. Wilkes said, “Pouring of the first gold at Haile represents a special moment in the history of the Haile gold mine, as this historic goldfield is re-established with a world-class, modern mining operation.” “We have established a strong team in South Carolina that includes technical experts from across our business to carry out commissioning activities and transition to operations. Achieving this important benchmark is a true testament to the leadership and dedication of our team.” Oceana is forecasting gold production from all of its mines in 2017 of between 550,000 oz to 610,000 oz.