Tasman Mining announced this week that government agency New Zealand Petroleum & Minerals granted a mining permit for the high-grade Blackwater gold deposit located near Reefton on the West Coast of the South Island.
In a media statement, Tasman said that with this new permit, the company can put in motion its plans to build an underground operation at the site of the historic Blackwater mine. Gold extraction in the area ceased more than six decades ago.
The Australian miner also plans to build a tunnel to provide a site for underground drilling to build more geological confidence in the existing gold resource. Tasman also aims to extract and commercialize silver over a 20-year period.
According to local industry group Straterra, Blackwater was once the most prolific mine in the Reefton Goldfield, producing 700,000 ounces of gold between 1908 and 1951.
“Tasman Mining will now work through the final approval process for the Annual Work Plan & Environmental Management Plans with the Buller and West Coast Regional Council. Our aim is to commence the development of a decline at the start of 2020 in conjunction with our technical, environmental and economic studies which will underpin a future decision as to whether a low impact, modern gold mining operation at Blackwater is feasible,” the firm’s Managing Director, Mark Le Messurier, said in the press release.
Tasman obtained an exclusive right to purchase Blackwater from OceanaGold (TSX/ASX: OGC) in July 2018.