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OceanaGold suspends operations in New Zealand

Waihi operations (Credit: OceanaGold-Waihi)

Gold miner OceanaGold has temporarily suspended mining at its Macreas and Waihi operations, in New Zealand, as the government implements a country-wide covid-19 lockdown.

The company started suspending activities at the two mine sites on August 16, and based on government updates, said operations would remain suspended until at least August 27.

“To date, we have not had any confirmed cases of covid-19 amongst our employees or contractors in New Zealand,” said CEO Michael Holmes in a media statement.

Critical personnel remain at each site to maintain environmental and safety standards, the company said.

“Given the situation is dynamic and the duration of the lockdown is currently uncertain, we are unable to determine the final impact on New Zealand production and related costs for the full year,” said Holmes.

Macraes is the country’s largest active gold-producing mine, having produced 144,487 ounces of gold last year. The company has a production guidance for 2021 between 155,000 and 165,000 ounces of gold.

Waihi produced 19,775 ounces of gold in 2020. It is expected to produce between 35,000 and 45,000 ounces of gold in 2021.

The miner said last month the Philippines has renewed its contract for the Didipio gold and copper mine for another 25 years, after almost two years of the operation being halted due to a dispute with a provincial government over the company’s license to operate.

Midday Tuesday, OceanaGold’s stock was down nearly 4% on the TSE. The company has a $1.22 billion market capitalization.