Dredging firm gets financing

ALEX FENSOME
Last updated 05:00 18/12/2012
Southland Times photo
ALEX FENSOME/Fairfax NZ
Waikaia Gold, from left, director Sam March, executive director Warren Batt and project manager Noel Becker at the starting site of their planned gold dredging operation in Freshford.

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The company behind a $12 million gold dredge project in Waikaia has secured financing and will begin operation by the end of March.

Waikaia Gold Ltd plans to extract up to 20,000 ounces of gold over eight years from the Waikaia River floodplain in northern Southland, making it one of the top five gold-producing projects in the country.

It is expected to bring up to 40 jobs to the area.

The operation was formally consented by Environment Southland and the Southland District Council in February.

The company announced it had raised the $12m investment needed to begin work yesterday.

Executive director Warren Batt said he expected assembly of the gold recovery plant to begin in January, with operation starting by March.

Starting on farmland near Freshford, the pit will move 80m a month down a former course of the Waikaia River.

Contractors will move 2.2 million cubic metres of overburden a year. The contract will be put out to tender in mid-January or early February, Mr Batt said.

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