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OceanaGold provides Martha Underground update

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Global Mining Review,

OceanaGold Corp. has provided an update on Martha Underground (MUG) at Waihi, New Zealand, including project development progress and updates to mineral resources.

Key highlights

  • First gold produced from Martha Underground.
  • 2021 production expected to range between 35 000 to 45 000 oz of gold.
  • Indicated resource increased 36% to 1 million oz of gold grading 5.2 g/t.
  • Extensive 2021 drill programme including 27 000 m targeting resource definition and extensional opportunities.
  • Feasibility study with initial mineral reserve expected at the end of 1Q21.

Michael Holmes, President and CEO of OceanaGold, said: “We are very pleased with the progress we have made at Martha Underground where we have achieved first gold production and expect steady-state in 2H21. We will continue to batch process MUG ore this month ahead of the planned mill shut down to install a new SAG mill shell which remains on schedule for completion in late 2Q21. Once completed, we expect underground production to sustain continuous milling.”

“Following our successful 2020 infill drill campaign at MUG, the company is pleased to announce an increase in the indicated resource to 1 million oz of gold grading 5.2 g/t; an increase of 36% representing the addition of approximately 260 000 oz of gold. The increase in indicated resource underpins the minimum 10-year mine life targeted for MUG. Importantly, we are also on track to complete the MUG feasibility study that will include our initial mineral reserve for the deposit.”

“We continue to be very excited for the future of the Waihi operations. We are a responsible mining company that operates to the highest environmental and social standards. With over 30 years of operational success in New Zealand, we are widely regarded as a valued corporate citizen. We look forward to advancing our exciting growth projects in New Zealand, which we expect will deliver significant socio-economic benefits including an additional 300 new jobs for the local rural communities.”

Martha Underground development

The company achieved first gold production from MUG after progressing development by nearly 7.5 km in 2020. Mining of MUG continues to ramp-up with additional production expected in 1Q21 ahead of the installation of a new SAG mill shell, which is scheduled completion late in 2Q21 as planned. The company continues to expect Waihi to produce between 35 000 and 45 000 oz of gold in 2021.

Mining from MUG will continue to ramp-up with ore stockpiled ahead of continuous milling re-commencing late in 2Q21. The company expects to complete the first full stope at the end of 1Q21 before increasing average mining rates to between 30 000 and 35 000 tpm in 2H21. Development continues at MUG as the company targets a steady-state annual gold production rate of 90 000 to 100 000 oz gold plus silver. The MUG feasibility study, including the initial mineral reserve, is due for completion late in 1Q21.Exploration update

In July 2020, the company released the results of a Waihi District Study preliminary economic assessment (PEA) that included 4.4 million t of indicated resource grading 5.2 g/t for 0.74 million oz of gold and 3.7 million t of inferred resource grading 4.6 g/t for 0.55 million oz of gold in the Martha Underground Project. Drilling undertaken in 2020 was successful in converting these inferred resources as reflected in the reported growth in indicated resource of 0.26 million oz for a total of 1 million oz gold.

Drilling at MUG commenced in 2017 and since that time, the Ccompany has drilled 124 km from both surface and underground. As drilling of MUG has tested a mix of historically mined areas and new or unmined portions of mineralised vein, the initial mineral reserve will reflect a conservative approach to the historically mined areas that will, in part, be excluded to allow for further resource definition and geotechnical drilling and studies to further optimise the resource and mine design.

In 2021, the company expects to drill a further 27 000 m in MUG with a focus on resource conversion (20 000 m) and resource extension (7000 m). Accompanying the most recent update to the resource at MUG, the company has revised the exploration target which now stands at 5 – 7 million t with a grade of 4 to 5 g/t gold.

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