Mining firm OceanaGold has announced an extension of the operational life of its Macraes gold mine on the South Island of New Zealand, to 2028.

The move to extend the Macraes mine life by at least seven years from 2021 follows an increase in its proven and probable mineral reserves.

Macraes, which commenced production in 1990, comprises open-pit mines, an underground mine and an adjacent process plant.

OceanaGold president and CEO Michael Holmes said: “Macraes continues to be the mine that keeps on giving.

“After nearly 30 years of operation, we are very pleased to announce that the Macraes life of mine will extend to at least 2028 with the inclusion of Golden Point Underground along with new open-pit opportunities such as those at Deepdell.”

Operational life of Frasers underground mine extended to 2022

The firm has also extended the mine life of the Frasers underground mine to 2022. It is planned to be replaced by the Golden Point Underground mine, which is expected to commence in 2021.

Commissioned in 2008, the Frasers Underground mine had an initial mine life of six years.

Holmes added: “Over the past 12 years, the company has maintained a short mine life at Frasers Underground, drilling ahead of the mine face and successfully replenishing reserves year-on-year.

“Our expectation is to operate the Golden Point Underground in a similar manner while targeting year-on-year mine life extensions.”

As per the miner’s initial mineral reserves and resources estimate, the Golden Point underground mine has proven and probable reserves of 160,000 gold ounces, measured and indicated resources of 260,000 gold ounces, and inferred resources of 80,000 gold ounces.

The company has increased Macraes’ total mineral reserves by 240,000 gold ounces, net of mine depletion as of 30 June 2020.

Last month, OceanaGold has secured the mining permit for the Wharekirauponga (WKP) project located on the North Island of New Zealand.