Mining: the life blood of the West Coast’s economy

Development of the Blackwater gold deposit

Mark Le Messurier from Tasman mining is signing an agreement with Oceana Gold for the future development of the higher grade Blackwater gold deposit near Reefton.

This deposit was continuously mined successfully from 1908 to 1951 and produced approximately 700,000 ounces of gold at a rate of 16 grams of gold per ton of excavation,

Underground gold mining is completely different to underground coal mining. Gold is mined from hard rock and there are no gases present, so eliminating the risk of explosions.

The preliminary economic assessment by Oceana Gold in 2014 on the Blackwater, concluded the project was technically and economically viable and would produce 570,000 ounces during the 10 year mine life recovering 50 to 60000 ounces each year.

More than 18 million dollars has been spent on exploration at Blackwater to date.

The next part of the project involves the decline development and the underground drilling phase. This would see around 30 direct jobs created.

Determining the economic viability of the mine will take approximately four years. A positive outcome would be a significant boost to the economy of the Buller and Grey Districts and to the West Coast as a whole. It would create around 100 direct jobs over 10 years.

Let’s have a look at a five-foot, land-based screen in operation on the West Coast. Note how this mining operation on harvested forest land restores the land ready for the next planting of trees.

Development of the Blackwater gold deposit