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Golden Point underground mine at the OceanaGold Macraes operation in the South Island of New Zealand has achieved first ore production, with five thousand tonnes being moved to the mill for processing.

Development of Golden Point underground began in 2020, alongside a string of underground and open-pit expansions at Macraes soon to replace Frasers Underground operations.

“The team delivered first production on schedule despite encountering challenging ground conditions in the upper section of the Golden Point decline,” Golden Point underground mine manager James Isles said.

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

“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.”

The new development of the Golden Point underground mine at the Macraes operation, along with the Frasers West pit extension, is expected to extend its life by at least eight years and produce 1.1 million ounces of gold over that time.

“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,” Macraes Operation general manager Mike Fischer said.

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