Tough blow strikes town

01:25, Jan 15 2014
AFFECTED: Towns like East Otago's Palmerston will feel the affect of the loss of 140 jobs from OceanaGold's Macraes Mine.

The loss of about 140 jobs at OceanaGold's Macraes Mine in East Otago will have a flow-on effect to towns like Palmerston.

Mayor of Waitaki Gary Kircher said about 50 per cent of the job losses would affect the area from Waikouaiti to Palmerston.

"Around 70 per cent live in Palmerston, so it's a tough blow for that town," Mr Kircher said.

"The upside is that there are very skilled people within the group and we are certainly working hard to retain as many as possible.

"Although the company (OceanaGold) signalled last year that it was re-evaluating its New Zealand operations including the life of the Macraes Mine, the price of gold and the price of getting gold out of the ground will always be the major factors regarding ongoing viability," Mr Kircher said.

The Macraes goldfield has operated for more than 25 years and has produced more than 3.8 million ounces of gold.

Its site was considered to have a mine life until the end of 2017.