Mine doubles gold output

CHE BAKER
Last updated 07:37 30/11/2012

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A new gold rush has struck in Central Otago with mining company Glass Earth reporting it has doubled production at its Manuherikia Valley mine in the past three months.

Yesterday the company announced gold production from the placer (alluvial) mining operations at its two Drybread sites increased from 30 ounces a week in August to between 70-80 ounces of gold a week.

Glass Earth chief executive officer Simon Henderson said: "We are delighted with the steady progress in our placer production and look forward to further efficiencies and improvements as we mine higher grade material during New Zealand's summer months ahead."

The higher gold production had been achieved in some lower grade areas and gold recovery units were working their way towards higher ground where further production increases were anticipated.

Cashflow from the operation would cover general and administrative expenses and modestly add to the company's exploration budget at the WKP prospect in Waihi in the North Island. Glass Earth director Peter Liddle said there had been steady growth at Drybread since operations started at a single site in March. At that stage 10 ounces of gold were being produced a week.

Throughout winter the company was able to start a larger plant operation. However, cold weather, commissioning and throughput issues set back production but that had since been sorted, Liddle said.

Throughput had been a key issue at the complex plant as drybread gold was "very fine", he said.

"It's been a bit of a learning curve."

"We are now stabilised and getting better and better.

"We think we can improve from here," he said.

The mine operates 12 hours a day, six days a week and current equipment improvements were also expected to increase production and decrease costs.

This year Central Otago celebrates 150 years since gold was first discovered in the region.

Gabriel Read started New Zealand's first gold rush after finding gold near Lawrence in May 1861.

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- The Southland Times

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